Truth About Alcoholism
By Marilyn Redmond

Who wishes to continue in misery, wretchedness, and depression? Alcoholism is an incurable disease that ends at the time of death. However, this interim period between the two points can be extended into a normal, happy, and productive life if one accepts and practices the necessity for treatment for the rest of his or her life. Thousands of people today claim a daily healing from this malady, and as a result, enjoy living. With truthful information, no one in this enlightened age has to sufferódenial is prevalent.

A couple years ago, our country spent $175 million in a campaign from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, to perpetuate the myth that if people drink responsibly they would not become alcoholic. This is not accurate. The American Medical Association has declared it a disease. There are hereditary, genetic, and generational predispo≠sitions to becoming an alcoholic.

General McCaffrey stated when he was in office that the "challenge was to reverse the current sharp rise in illegal drug use by youth." The reality is the old adage: Monkey see and monkey do. Add elements of inherited and family history to this population that digests alcohol and drugs differently than a regular drinker, and the story becomes more complex. Youth feel emotional pain, fear, and anger from household factors and see the disowning and drowning of their parent's misery. Are emotional wounds, pains, and undiagnosed medical problems, some reasons for youth acting out in violence?

Alcoholism, drugs(including prescriptions), cigarettes, work, sex, and other addictions such as co-dependency, violence, and abuse anesthetize and hide the anguish about which no one talks. The kids turn to substitutes for escape and self-medication from their family lineage. It's illegal for an adolescent to smoke pot while the adults legally smoke cigarettes. They are doing the same activityócovering their feelings; however, one is legal while the other is not. Both experience the same dilemma.

Programs that encourage saying "NO" are uninformed that it is a health condition. The first time of indulging may relieve the pain of this disorder. As the "progression" of the disease grows, relief is what the user wants. Physiological imbalances in a body do not listen to reason. It is like saying no to cancer. The "war on drugs" will not stop the problem. Reducing the demand occurs when the addicted person is in remission with a daily program rein≠forcing the honesty that they are bodily and mentally different from other people. Their body chemistry does not digest alcohol or drugs like typical drinkers. So, when the person reaches the point of healing, the desire for mood-altering substances will not be as strong as the desire to live a healthy life. This is called healing or recovery.

There are three stages to this disease:

1. Early stage.

In the early stages, the alcoholic can out drink his friends. The disease is so subtle that first revisions in the liver and central nervous system increase tolerance and often improve performance. Tolerance or drinking large amounts transition to maintenance drinking. This shift promotes an even level of alcohol in the blood so the person drinks to function.

2. Middle stage.

Moving into the middle stage is not clearly defined. However, three characteristics are basic features. They are the physical depen≠dence as experienced in acute and pro≠tracted withdrawal syndromes, craving, and loss of control. Later stages include withdrawal convulsions, hallucinations, and delirium tremens (DT's).

3. Last Stage.

The last period kills the person one way or another. Suicides, accidents, drowning, fires from passing out with a lighted cigarette, falling, or car crashes are a few of the unlisted causes of symptoms. It attacks the heart, liver, brain, stomach, lungs, kid≠neys, and pancreas. It even causes can≠cer. Malnutrition is common.

Basis for Recovery

To recover from a dependency on drugs, you need to do three things.

1. Accept that this is a sickness. The person has a chemical imbalance similar to diabetes.

2. Detox. Find either a local treat≠ment center using a 12-step program or one like The Betty Ford Center, Hazeldon, or Alcoholics Anonymous as a way to accept reality.

3. Add a spiritual program to help a daily pardon. Changed attitudes can bring happiness and healthiness. Many people don't view health as an exciting product, until they don't have it.

Communities now are preoccupied with drug abuse in teen suicides or recent killings at schools. Community structure deteriorates as money is drained into programs too narrow for proper intervention and effective results with the primary illness. Retaining the whole perspective is necessary. It is the nature of the disease to take one part and scapegoat the rest. This complex picture cannot embrace short term, quick fix solutions. Overreacting to a long-term problem fails to assess the total scope of the difficulty. We need to accept and see this malady in its wholeness.

We have come to a time for communities to identify the rage and grief for drug-related suicides and killings from irrational thinking processes. We need to refocus our attention on an ongoing assessment process that is all-inclusive. A sound planning effort for the entire continuum of adolescents and adults in drug dependence needs implementation and development. These areas would then disseminate accurate results to increase awareness for the scope and the nature of the problems.

Let's do the right thing, not what is politically correct. People are dying. This is not abuse; it is ignoring reality. Action means more to the ill than talking about healthiness.

ACTION: Make an honest assessment of your life. Do you have an addiction problem?

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