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The statistics are alarming.: In 2022, 10.5% of people aged 12 and older, or 29.5 million people, had Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) in the past year. This includes 28.8 million adults aged 18 and older, 17.4 million males, and 12.2 million females.
Binge drinking According to the CDC, 17% of adults binge drink, and nearly all adults who drink heavily also binge drink.
Deaths According to the CDC, 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths each year in the United States. This includes 33,098 deaths caused by alcoholic liver disease in 2021, and 54,258 deaths caused by alcohol, excluding accidents and homicides.
Male vs female In 2020, 13% of adult men had an AUD compared with 9% of adult women. In 2020, 9% of women overall had an AUD, and 17% of women between the ages of 18 and 25 had an AUD.
High school students In 2019, about 32% of female high school students consumed alcohol compared with 26% of male high school students. Binge drinking was also more common among female (15%) than male (13%) high school students.
Alcohol is the great destroyer. Its impact upon one’s health is irrefutable.  Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to various health issues such as liver disease, cardiovascular problems, mental health disorders, and an increased risk of certain cancers. Alcohol impairs cognitive function, leading to poor decision-making, risky behaviors, and impaired motor skills, which can result in accidents and injuries. It has a high potential for addiction, leading to dependence and withdrawal symptoms, which can be difficult to overcome and even fatal. Alcohol abuse can strain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues, leading to social isolation and damaged interpersonal connections. Engaging in alcohol abuse can lead to legal issues such as driving under the influence and can also have a significant financial impact due to the cost of alcohol and related consequences.
These factors collectively make alcohol a destructive force, highlighting the importance of addressing alcohol abuse and seeking support for those affected by its negative consequences.
Alcohol is indiscriminate. It affects people from all walks of life. From those of low socioeconomic status,  to A-list Hollywood celebrities.
Jane Lynch, the Emmy and Golden Globe winner with a career spanning over three decades, recalled her struggles with alcohol addiction during an interview with The Guardian in February 2022. She revealed she got sober for a second time after relapsing years ago. Lynch explained that after going to AA for years, having a successful career and doing therapy, she began drinking again — and quickly learned she couldn’t just have one drink.
“I became a connoisseur of wine in a way that only an alcoholic can,” she shared of her relapse, noting she drank while starring on Paramount+’s The Good Fight, which she appeared on from 2017 to 2021. “I went back into denial, after all those years of sobriety and self-knowledge. I fooled myself — I woke up one day and went: ‘I’m back.'”
Lynch recalled being able to fool her close friends during that time, saying, “I remember a friend said: ‘I told you you’re not an alcoholic anymore.’ I’d go: ‘I know!'” The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel actress is now sober, adding that she stopped drinking again just six months after her relapse.
“It was like the sober fairy said, ‘OK, I’m giving you one more chance,'” she said. “And it was over. Five o’clock would come and I didn’t notice it.”
Breaking The Cycle of Addiction
The term “curing” when applied to alcoholism is a bit complex, as alcoholism is considered a chronic and relapsing disorder. Instead, the focus is often on treatment and management. There is no ONE blueprint for overcoming alcoholism, but the strategies outlined are proven weapons in the battle against this deadly addiction.
  1. Seek Professional Help: Consulting with a medical professional or addiction specialist is a crucial first step in recovery. From inpatient to continued outpatient treatment, professionals can provide a tailored treatment plan, which may include medication, counseling, therapy, and/ or participation in support groups.
    Setting achievable and measurable goals can help individuals stay motivated on their path to sobriety. Whether it’s reducing alcohol consumption gradually or aiming for complete abstinence, having clear objectives can provide a sense of accomplishment.
  2. Detoxification: Medically supervised detox can help individuals safely manage withdrawal symptoms when ceasing alcohol consumption. The withdrawal from alcohol is one of the few syndromes that is potentially deadly.
  3. Therapy and Counseling: Engaging in individual or group therapy can help address underlying issues contributing to alcoholism and develop coping strategies to maintain sobriety. Participating in support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can provide a sense of community, understanding, and ongoing support from individuals facing similar challenges.
  4. Medication: Certain medications can be prescribed to help manage alcohol cravings and reduce the risk of relapse.
  5. Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthier lifestyle that includes regular exercise, stress-reducing activities, and healthy social interactions can help support long-term recovery.
  6. Dual Diagnosis Treatment: For individuals with co-occurring mental health disorders, integrated treatment plans that address both alcoholism and underlying mental health conditions are vital.
  7. Family and Social Support: Involving family and close friends in the treatment process can provide crucial support and improve the chances of long-term recovery.
  8. Identify Triggers: Understanding the factors that lead to alcohol abuse is essential for developing coping strategies. Identifying triggers such as stress, social situations, or emotional distress can help individuals find healthier ways to manage these challenges.
  9. Develop Coping Mechanisms: Learning healthy coping mechanisms to manage stress, anxiety, and other emotions is crucial in avoiding the urge to turn to alcohol. Techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing, or relaxation exercises can be beneficial.
  10. Educate Yourself: Gaining knowledge about the effects of alcohol abuse and its impact on health can be a powerful motivator to quit. Understanding the benefits of sobriety and potential risks of continued alcohol abuse can reinforce the commitment to change.
  11. Take Advantage of Support Services: Utilizing support services such as helplines, online forums, or community resources can provide additional support and guidance throughout the recovery process.
  12. Stay Committed: Overcoming alcohol abuse is a journey that requires persistence and determination. It’s important to stay committed to the goal of sobriety, even when facing setbacks or challenges.
    It’s important to recognize that the journey to managing alcoholism is unique for each individual, and a combination of these strategies, tailored to specific needs and circumstances, can contribute to a successful recovery. Ongoing support, monitoring, and management are typically necessary for individuals in recovery from alcoholism.
    Quitting alcohol abuse can be the challenge of a lifetime. Being set free from the devastation that alcohol can unleash on one’s life makes this a most worthy endeavor.  With proper professional treatment/guidance, support, and determination, individuals can overcome alcohol addiction and lead healthier, more fulfilling lives. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, seeking professional help and guidance is critical to starting the journey towards recovery and long-term sobriety.

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