As alcoholics, we have experienced the sheer malevolent power of addiction. The disease of alcoholism takes prisoners and when it remains untreated, many will succumb to its destructive capacity. Experts call it a progressive illness since the more one abuses alcohol the worse their overall condition will become. It simply becomes progressively worse for the untreated, unfortunate alcoholic who lacks the constitution or support systems to fight back.
For every alcoholic who is successfully treated and lives a life of recovery, so many more eventually perish due to alcohol. This is an illness that will never be cured due to research; there are no ribbon campaigns to find a cure for alcoholism. Research however has proven beyond any doubt that alcohol abuse will eventually kill you from various factors ranging from alcohol related cirrhosis of the liver to drunken driving accidents and any other myriad of health issues directly connected to alcoholism. Some will even die in withdrawal, this being the cruelest of fates.
As harsh as these words are to hear, they can be used to assist some in seeking treatment and even staying sober. Alcoholics need to understand the damage they are doing to themselves by their continuous, uncontrolled drinking. As the drinking gets worse, so to do the odds of dying from an alcohol related cause. Maybe that fact will shake up those drinkers who believe they aren’t hurting anyone by their drinking.
Many reported fatalities fail to give the exact cause for their occurrence and more often than not alcohol consumption was a factor. A police marine unit was questioned during a particularly active holiday weekend in an Ontario, Canada beach resort town of less than 20,000 people (this number doubled in the summer months). They reported that in 2007 their police divers responded to six times the number of emergencies than a similar unit in a major population centre of 2 million people an hour’s drive away. The vast majority of these serious responses were a result of misadventure due to alcohol.
Homicides, suicides, vehicle accidents, fires, strokes, respiratory failure or heart attacks; many can be traced back to alcohol as the root cause of death and an alcoholic in recovery can and should use these facts as they relate to the seriousness of their illness to keep them away from their next first drink. If they had an allergy to nuts and risked death if they consumed anything that contained nuts surely they would avoid eating them regardless of how much they enjoyed them. Sure, this analogy is somewhat flawed since nuts aren’t generally known for their addictive tendencies but you see my point. If it can kill you, you should avoid it.
When in the early stages of alcoholism we feel invulnerable to everything, as we grow older and the disease progresses we begin to experience failing health. By now the addiction is entrenched and the response to our deterioration is emotional numbness and continued drinking at an even greater pace. We begin to give up on ourselves and any thought of quitting alcohol becomes a tragic reminder of what might have been. Fatalistic thinking becomes the norm as time begins to run out on us and we passively accept our probable fate.
Only drastic measures will save us from ourselves and we secretly pray for outside intervention that in many cases has long since passed. By the time our bodies give out and medical action becomes involuntary often the writing is on the wall as our deepest regret becomes a reality, all hope is lost and alcohol will claim yet another tormented victim. The squandering of another life is unimaginable yet the pathetic powerlessness of the suffering alcoholic makes for easy justification by those left behind. He or she was beyond hope.
It should sicken everyone that the statistics continue to rise and the price paid by so many alcoholics is so steep. Stronger efforts to recognize alcohol problems before they intensify are required and common sense must rule in individuals who show an unhealthy inclination toward alcohol consumption. The stigma of alcohol as a weakness of willpower or as a moral depravity needs to be seriously challenged. Until alcoholism is recognized as a serious disease, it will never be treated as the medical emergency it really is.
To set up an appointment with Michael Pearlman, M.D., Call 1 (866) 285-3400 toll-free or (617) 620-2230,