Getting your degree in alcohology

INCIRLIK AIR BASE, Turkey -- Most people know the definition of alcohol and most know the definition of awareness but many may not know the meaning of alcohol awareness. 

Central Texas College is currently offering an alcohol awareness class where students learn about alcohol abuse and intervention. The 16-hour class, which is worth one semester hour, teaches students everything from realizing alcohol is a drug to drinking behaviors and medical complications from drinking. 

"This is the first and only class in the Air Force that allows the community to address local alcohol problems and ways to fix them while getting college credit," said Kerry Bringman, Drug Demand Reduction Program manager. 

Students from the class said it was very beneficial. 

"The class gave an incredible amount of information concerning the effects alcohol can have on both the mind and body," said Staff Sgt. Alexandra Melenciano, Incirlik Airman Leadership School instructor and a student in the class. "It also gave us a realistic view on what's really happening, not only the Incirlik community, but in the United States.  Much of the information is so astonishing that you want to share it with everyone you know." 

Sergeant Melenciano said the class doesn't lecture people about quitting drinking but provides useful information about over-drinking. 

"It's not one of those classes to stop you from drinking," she said. "It may make you think twice about the amount and frequency of your alcohol intake. It is an educational experience that opens your eyes about what's happening to us when we are just doing what's 'normal' in our society."   

Sometimes alcohol can affect much more than just the person with the drinking problem. 

"It is important because alcohol is an inevitable part of our lives," said Sergeant Melenciano. "I truly believe that if we are not prepared for our battles, we won't be able to overcome them as effectively. One person's problem with alcohol may not only affect them, but it also affects everyone around them. If we become more aware of what's going on and what we can do to prevent it from happening in the future, then we will inevitably have less problems to deal with and our focus can be directed toward more important things." 

"One of the things that gave me chills was every one of the seven students we had in class said they will never look at drinking the same again," said Mr. Bringman, who is also one of the class instructors. "This doesn't mean they will stop drinking, but they will stop and look at the reality of alcohol abuse." 

The next Alcohol Awareness and Intervention class begins in about two months. For details, call Central Texas College at 676-8399. 

The course outline is as follows:

Day one:
Course Introduction, Syllabus Review and Class Project Assignment
Alcohol - The Drug

Day two:
Medical Consequences of Abuse
Medical Consequences of Addiction
The "Culture" of Abuse

Day three:
The Social Impact of Abuse
Binge Drinking
Drinking Responsibly

Day four:
Local Threat
Enabling (What went wrong?)
Intervention (What to do to make it right?)
Group Study

Day five:
Group Study (Action Plan)
Turn in Action Plan - Group Study