Remember that alcoholism is incurable, progressive, and fatal
On Facebook, I saw the photo of a handsome young man, sporting a cheerful smile on his face. Underneath the photo, his obituary was posted. Wondering if he died in a car accident or overseas fighting our enemies, I opened the obituary and read it. When I did, I was deeply grieved. He died of a drug overdose while drinking—just like so many other young people in America.
This is something that happens far too often in our society. We’ve all known someone who has died from an alcohol or drug related death. Perhaps you’ve known someone like this. I’ve known quite a few. In my twenty-three years of recovery, it seems like I have heard of situations like this on an average of once a month. Because these deaths happen sporadically, it’s always shocking, but it shouldn’t be. Instead, they are predictable, and we need to recognize this for what it is.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, we say alcohol kills. We believe it, but few take this aphorism seriously—not as seriously as they should, not until it’s too late. There’s a reason for this.
Alcoholics and drug addicts engage in magical thinking. Regardless of how far down the ladder they have gone, they believe they will beat the odds, learn to drink or drug successfully, and live to a ripe old age. They all believe this, but it’s almost never true. Pointing to one person who has made the news by living to 105, while drinking bourbon everyday, alcoholics believe they will be that person, but it’s far more likely that they will die decades before their time by choosing to pursue a path of self-destruction. If you think my admonition is hyperbole, think again.
Because we live in an era where foolish political leaders—those who are anxious to be popular among millennials—champion personal indulgence—the problem is getting worse rather than better. Like the lemming rushing over a cliff, believing the ocean is just another lake, we are headed in the wrong direction at breakneck speed, producing a wake of destabilization, destruction, and death. In this legislative and administrative game, where fools legalize folly, your children and grandchildren are being put at risk. Oblivious to the heartache and suffering at the other end, the welfare of our youth is not the number one priority.
Because our nation glorifies alcohol, especially in music and on TV, minimizing its potential destructiveness, kids by the millions start drinking before have a clue about life. Now, marijuana is getting the same type of glorification. Meanwhile, obituaries like the one I mentioned continue to pop up across the nation—day after day, year after year.
You can listen to all of the music you want or watch TV shows that minimize the destructive effects of alcohol and drugs, but none of it is true. Just ask the families of those who have lost a son or daughter to alcohol or drugs. They will tell you, “Alcohol kills”—just like we have learned at AA.