The problem of alcohol abuse and delinquent behavior is widespread among disadvantaged families in the modern society. There are a lot of possible reasons for such kind of behavior. This essay will study the particular case of James T. Johnson, a 24-year-old construction worker. The paper will prove that the young man’s personality was influenced by multiple social and psychological factors.
It is possible that James could have acquired the alcohol consumption trait from his father. The male and female children always admire being like their elders, and, most of the times, they keep a close eye on the elder people of their sex. Mostly, they live to be like their parents or their family members, as these people are the ones, who have been more close to them since their childhood. James learnt that consuming alcohol was a thing that was right and acceptable in the community. His father used to drink, and as he was an elder person, so the boy considered it to be a trait he could copy from the man and adopt it as one of his moral characters. His mother did not worry about his behavior, and she had never intervened in helping him to stop excessive drinking. This can be the main factor that made James acquire this harmful trait.
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James had friends, who also drunk alcohol. Applying the peer pressure, these friends would influence him to try out this magic thing, which made them feel ‘high’. James may have thought of having an easy way out of his stresses by taking alcohol, which would offer a temporary solution to the superfluous negative feelings, caused by frequent fights of his parents.
James would also have an easy access to drugs, and probably considered this to be an advantage to cool or take away the depressions he may have got due to their family lifestyle and daily fighting.
I think James mother was an enabler of James addiction to alcohol. Once, the woman was caught up on a situation, and she has nothing much to do about the issue. The husband mistreated her, even to the extent of beating her up. She frequently had arguments with her husband. The woman did not force any one in to drug addiction; however, the mistake she did was not advising her son to be unlike his father. She could probably have acknowledged him on the effects alcohol had on a person’s physical and mental health. She failed on her role of being a guide to her kids.
Alcohol consumption is not a one family’s or a one person’s deal. There are many people, who take alcohol to make friends, as that is the only thing they are able to do. I think taking this man to a youth prison would only stop his drinking habit for a short period of time, as he would be simply lacking access to it. When he was released from the jail, he would return to the same habit again. The best solution was to take him to a rehabilitation centre where necessary measures would be applied that would help to solve the problem.
Taking him to juvenile prison would bear no fruit in halting down problems with alcohol. He might lack understanding of why he had been imprisoned and sent to jail. He could go to jail to serve the sentence only with exceptionally minor changes made in him.
Even if his mother failed to give him advice, he was supposed to evaluate the effects alcohol had on the boy’s father. The boy, on the other hand, was also supposed to make a wise decision on what he wanted to be in life and not expected his mother to be his watch dog (Frazier, 1931). James was not forced by anyone to be a drug addict; he had chosen to follow a wrong step he had seen his father doing as well as his friends were. He did not want to admit that he was doing wrong; he rather wanted to have his mother as a scapegoat.
Reaction formation emerges when a person aims at watching something that is deplorable because of another conflicting act. This can be caused by the victim’s fear of suffering from a social punishment. James was a drunkard, who would go out with his friends on Friday and would not return home up to Sunday. He blamed his mother for having not made any efforts of controlling his drinking habit when he was young neither did she try to stop her husband, as well. He claimed that he had acquired the behavior from his grandfather, who was a drunkard too. Excessive drinking is unacceptable in most communities. In James’ community, this seemed to be the same. He had acquired six DUI tickets by the time he was arrested. He blamed his mother for bringing him up in an environment that exposed him to drugs and alcohol. However, he seemed to enjoy what he was doing. This was clearly shown by his conduct of going out on Fridays and disappearing up to Sundays and drinking to extent of having difficulties with walking and standing. James made efforts of trying to cover up his misconduct and his passion for drinking beer by blaming his parents to be the cause of his addiction to taking alcohol. In his argument, he uses his parent’s acts, such as frequent fighting and alcohol consumption, to be the cause of his addiction.
The concept applied in the strain theory states that the groups that constitute or make up a society may have an influence on people living within it. It may influence some people to commit a felony. In James’s family, this has undoubtedly been a main factor that determined the family members’ way of behaving and doing things. For example, James’s grandfather had a tendency of beating up James’ father and forcing him to consume alcohol as a part of the punishment. He was a heavy drinker and passed this trait over to his son.
Through him, he also learned to be violent and frequently caused his wife having restless night by beating her. James, as well as his father, had taken alcohol consumption as a way of consoling himself. Instead of achieving peace, he found himself landing in the police station and forced his mother to mortgage their house in order to get him from there. James father also died from the effects of his alcoholophilia.
The subculture perspective states that behavior is adopted depending on the age of the novice; the closeness of the ‘student’ to his/her ‘teacher’ also matters as well as the behavior of the ‘teacher’. In James case, he got to acquire the drinking traits from his father, who was the closest person to him. His father had tendency habit of coming home late and being drunk. He wished that he would not pass the trait to his son; however, the boy turned out to be like him.
Social cognitive theory is the theory that is frequently used in sociological studies that we can use to relate. This theory states out that a person’s behavior depends on the observation one makes on the people surrounding him/her. This highly affects the person that will be shaped in the observer. This theory stresses that there exist a major variation between a human being moral proficiency and performance. James has been affected by his father’s behavior and has become a drunkard as his father used to be. According to this theory, the moral values of every other person are affected by the society. The community tends to have the same moral conduct for every other person.
The other theory that can be related to this context is the Theory of Psychological Development projected by Erick Erikson (Gross, 1987). The theory states that personality is built up on sequences and that each stage creates a triumphant formation of the earlier stages. If a child lacks successful completion of the stages, he/she is expected to suffer from challenges as this may result to problems in the future. He also insisted that the society played a great role in these developments.
According to the social cognitive theory, James’s father was first affected by the treatment he acquired from his own father. The man did not want to pass the negative traits he had to his son. Unfortunately, James got to observe his father’s behavior and slowly got to learn and lastly adopted his way of life. As for his situation, he used to drink to take away the soreness he felt for having to live in a family full of fights and arguments. He did not want his son to die early or suffer from the side effects of alcohol consumption.
These theories can affect the generations to come in the future, in that they may get to ruin their lives, with the thought that they are getting to be like their elders (Cohen, 1955). They may get affected by adopting wrong traits and ending up messing with their lives. In conclusion, I would urge people to be responsible for their acts, and they should not blame other people whenever they get to mess up in their life. Life should be a personal business. One should aim to run it how he/she wants as long as the person does not hurt other people in the society.
It is obvious that James T. Johnson, a 24-year-old construction worker, was influenced by the society and his family situation; even though it was his personal decision to be a drunkard.