Have you ever wondered what it means to be an alcoholic? When it seems that many people do drink habitually, what is the difference between deadly drinking and just a normal sort of “drinking too much”? I have heard people speak of addiction as a sliding scale. If alcohol addiction is a sliding scale from occasional binge drinking to physical dependence on alcohol, should we as a society step in at some point to counteract that addiction? What can we do to keep people going off the scales with alcoholism? Is there a sliding scale of alcohol use disorders that require different interventions? Is rehab the highest unit to combat addiction? How do we stop alcohol addiction before it really gets out of hand?
I have met a couple of people in my travels who were in hospital for pancreatitis as a direct result of alcohol abuse. I hear that pancreatitis is one of the worst pains that you can come across. One of these people ended up in ICU more than once and is very sick as a result of their drinking.
Another of these people said that they’re in the worst pain that they’ve ever been in, and this is the second time that they’ve had pancreatitis as a result of alcohol abuse. They’ve been to alcohol rehab more than once and they can’t stop drinking. They’re crawling the walls in pain and nothing in the way of medication can touch it.
Another of these people has ascites because their liver is failing so bad due to the damage that alcohol did to it. This person said that they don’t want to stop drinking, even though they were extremely ill. They were put on palliative care and will die as a direct result of addiction and alcohol abuse.
The catch is that these people that I met only drank the equivalent of two bottles of wine a night. I say only because it’s standard for me to drink that much or more when I’m drinking- and it never seemed to be too big an amount.
I’ve met these people over the last few weeks and I keep thinking- this will not happen to me, I’ll sort it out before I’m old; I will catch it in time. The thing is though, these people aren’t old… one of them is still in their forties and each of them have said to me that they never thought this would happen to them. They never thought that the drinking would kill them. They all voiced to me that they would catch it in time, but they were wrong. Two out of three of them are actively dying, and not one of them is over 60 years old.
What is the life expectancey of an alcoholic?
People hospitalized with alcohol use disorder have an average life expectancy of 47–53 years (men) and 50–58 years (women) and die 24–28 years earlier than people in the general population.
This is the reality of alcohol abuse and it’s such an impossibly sad thing when so many of us are still caught up in the cycle that may or may not kill us one day. It’s been really educational to me, seeing the exact same thought patterns that I have had- in the end stage alcoholism of these people. When you play Russian Roulette, you either win or you die.
My husband and I were driving yesterday and I saw some horses in a paddock with a tiny fence around them that they could easily jump over and escape if they wanted to. I asked my husband why they don’t just run away- the fence is jump-able. Conditioning, he told me. It’s the same as when an elephant is tied to a tiny stump with a tiny rope and it thinks that it can’t escape. The saddest thing is that not all of these animals are born in captivity, so the inability to escape really is conditioned into them.
I told my husband that it kinda reminded me of myself for many years and for the past few months. I allowed myself to believe that I was trapped and couldn’t escape alcohol, and so I didn’t really try. Even though I had known freedom prior, even though I had been sober for six months, when I started drinking again I allowed myself to be tied up with a rope that I could realistically escape from.
I wish that those of us who are playing Russian Roulette when we drink had some sort of tattoo hidden away on our inner arm that would turn red when it was time to stop or die. That would make it so much easier I know that realistically, stopping alcohol addiction in its tracks is first and foremost up to the individual, but I feel like we as a society can help somehow. Maybe it’s as simple as each one of us who is tied to the stump with the tiny rope breaking free. Put the gun down and walk away from the Russian Roulette table. Jump the fence of the paddock. Look deeply and honestly at how you have been conditioned to think you need to drink. You do not need to drink.
What is the life expectancy of an alcoholic? Longer if they stop drinking and stay stopped.
Rethink the Drink –
In everything that we are taught about how adults use alcohol, alcohol does not kill people, the disease of addiction kills people. Genetic traits kill people. Irresponsible behavior kills people. Poor choices kill people. But my life has revealed a different reality.
Scientists and psychologists argue over nature, nurture and neuroplasticity. While alcohol kills.
People in recovery argue over the definition of addiction and the right way or wrong way to stop drinking and stay sober. While alcohol kills.
People do not intend to die for a drink . They do not intend to die of addiction. Death from alcohol abuse is often sudden and unexpected and usually humiliating, Alcohol is the seductive beast that kills.
If you are drinking too much too often don’t feel like you need to wait for a rock bottom to stop. Come talk to us and we’ll help you start thinking it through. Before it’s too late.
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Don’t let the shame of the stigma keep you from saying
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