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Quit Drinking For Family's Sake'

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'Quit drinking for family's sake'

BANGKOK: -- Male drinkers were urged yesterday to quit drinking and stop abusing their wives.

The call, by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, was made at a seminar - for Mother's Day.

Thailand has a major problem with alcohol abuse and it has a big negative impact on families, the Foundation said.

Between November 2005 and last month, 4,576 calls about drinking problems were made to a hotline centre, ThaiHealth communications director Wilasinee Phiphitkul told the seminar.

Some 58 per cent of the callers were wives and 17 per cent were children, she said. More than a third said men's drinking habits affected family relationships by igniting arguments and violence.

Two women with alcoholic husbands spoke tearfully of their experiences before describing how their lives had changed since their husbands quit drinking.

Sukanya Tanbutr, 44, of Samut Prakan, said her husband, Saeng Tanbutr, 45, spent Bt3,000 a week on booze - while the family earned Bt9,000 a month. This had left the family mired in debt over the past decade.

When drunk, Saeng used to beat her and once hit her so hard she went deaf in one ear.

To keep Saeng drinking at home, Sukanya became his drinking partner and persuaded him to join the ThaiHealth programme.

Now Saeng has been sober for over three months. Yesterday he vowed to quit drinking for good.

"I will work hard and never drink alcohol again. And I'll support my kid to become a teacher - it's her dream job," Saeng said.

Sunee, 14, said she had been saddened by her dad's drinking habit, but she felt happier now he stayed sober and had more time than before for the family.

Another speaker, Janya Jaimano, 44, from Chiang Mai, said her husband had been a heavy drinker before their marriage worsened when their eldest daughter was eight.

After the birth of their second child, Janya's husband decided to join the programme. He had been "normal" for three months, she said, and much happier.

--The Nation 2006-08-11

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