Many people may not fully realize, but alcohol is one of the most addictive and destructive drugs on the planet. While a little bit of alcohol in moderation can even be healthy to the body, consuming too much alcohol on a regular basis can be utterly destructive. What is scary about alcoholism is that alcohol addiction can often creep up on people, and can cause them to be suffering a full blown addiction before they know it. Not only does alcohol affect our personalities and temperament, but can have dangerous long-term side effects. Long-term side effects of alcoholism include dependence, withdrawals, cirrhosis, liver failure, heart problems, even death.
How Common Is Alcoholism in America?
As of 2012, over 30% of U.S. adults have either regularly abused alcohol or have been, or currently are, full blown alcoholics. And this number is only expected to rise in the years to come. Recent studies show that alcohol abuse typically starts around age 20, 2 years lower than a similar study done 5 years ago. With more young adults and teenagers abusing alcohol every year, many experts believe we will only see a steady increase in the rate of alcoholics over the next 25 years. What is possibly more striking about this stunning rate of alcoholism in America is that only 24% of these people ever seek treatment.
Due to the stunning rate of alcoholism in the U.S. and all over the world, an organization was created known as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) to provide support for individuals struggling with an alcohol problem. AA is a fellowship of men and women who meet regularly and share their experiences, hopes, and battles with alcohol, so as to encourage new members to stop drinking, while offering invaluable emotional support. There are no dues or fees to join and the only requirement for membership is a strong desire to stop drinking. Alcoholics Anonymous is not allied with any specific sect, denomination, or political organization and its sole purpose is to provide support for individuals struggling with alcoholism and a means to achieve sobriety.
How Does AA Help?
AA can make a profound difference in a struggling alcoholic’s life and has helped thousands of alcoholics to stop drinking. AA meetings are generally open meetings where speakers talk about their past experiences with alcohol and what they did to overcome it. Members may bring friends, relatives, co-workers for support and anyone can get up and speak about their own story. AA does offer closed meetings as well, that are exclusively for alcoholics only.
AA can make a tremendous difference in an alcoholic’s life because it not only provides support and compassion to all its members, but offers struggling alcoholics a path out of their current addiction. Only be sharing in the experiences of individuals who have struggled with alcoholism and beat it, can current alcoholics find the strength and perspective to overcome this powerful disease once and for all.