But I've got Reasons!

Alcoholics offer many excuses "Drinking makes me feel better," "It calms me down," "I'm more fun when I'm drunk" and more but these explanations only skim the surface of the deeper issues that usually drive and fuel a drinking problem.

Excuse: "I drink to forget.

In response to trauma death, marital problems, divorce and job discomfort some people turn to the bottle in hopes of dissolving internal conflicts. Alcohol consumption, however, may contribute to, rather than relieve, tension. Drinking elevates hormones (the same that trigger stress), increasing the intensity of depression and anxiety. 1 Attempts to "drown your sorrows" only backfire since alcoholism frequently complicates life with other connected problems: violence in the home, health concerns, car accidents and sometimes even death.

Excuse: "I feel better when I'm drunk."

Though the body initially responds to alcohol with a euphoric sense of pleasure a "good buzz" addiction to alcohol is like playing Russian Roulette with your health. In addition to commonly known alcohol-related illnesses like liver disease and brain cell deterioration, excessive alcohol intake has also been directly linked to cancer, high blood pressure, fetal alcohol syndrome, diabetes and other less common illnesses. The following statistics emphasize the impact drinking can have on your quality of life.

An estimated 75 percent of esophageal cancers in the United States occur in heavy drinkers. Of cancers in the mouth, pharynx and larynx, 50 percent are directly related to massive quantities of alcohol. Combined with smoking, these numbers increase. 2

There's a direct connection between alcohol abuse and liver, breast, colon, pancreatic and lung cancer. 3 Alcohol abuse during pregnancy raises the baby's chance of developing Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS), potentially causing serious physical and mental abnormalities such as low birth weight, kidney and urinary malfunctions, smaller brains, developmental delays, irritability, nervous system problems and many other frightening health issues. 4 Unfortunately, about 12,000 babies a year suffer from this debilitating condition; another 50,000 are born with Fetal Alcohol Effects, exhibiting lesser signs of FAS. 5 The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that "10 to 35 percent of heavy drinkers develop alcoholic hepatitis, and 10 to 20 percent develop cirrhosis." 6

Many alcoholics experience no immediate adverse health effects, others experience irreversible consequences. But in the long run, replacing proper nutrition and diet with alcohol can cause serious problems.

Excuse: "I've tried to 'get on the wagon.' Every time, I fail."

Quitting is hard. Even with proper treatment, studies show that within 4 years "approximately 90 percent of alcoholics are likely to experience at least one relapse." 7 Relapse is generally a response to unmet physical and emotional needs. Because of the addictive nature of alcoholism, falling back on old habits is common. Environmental stimulus can also contribute to relapse in alcoholics. Physiological and psychological reactions surface when an alcoholic is surrounded by anything reminiscent of their "drinking days." 8

Many rehabilitation programs stress complete abstinence from alcohol, since former addicts usually cannot tolerate only one drink. The acronym H.A.L.T. is an easy tip for recovering alcoholics to remember: avoid feeling Hungry, Angry, Lonely and Tired. This is one very practical way to "stay on the wagon." However, physical control of an addiction is only a surface level of restraint. To truly transform your life, you must step outside your own power and seek the help of God, your family and friends.

1 http://alcoholism.about.com/library/blnaa32.htm.
2 http:// alcoholism.about.com/library/blnaa21.htm.
3 Ibid.
4 http://alcoholism.about.com/library/blnaa32.htm.
5 http://www.nofas.org/main/stats.htm.
6 http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa42.htm.
7 http://alcoholism.about.com/library/blnaa06.htm.
8 Ibid.

Background Information

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