The Wrong Kind of Acceptance
Alcohol addiction is a terrible disease, just like any other substance disorder. It often acts in subtle ways, but alcoholism is chronic, progressive, and possibly fatal. Over time, it can have the same debilitating effects as addiction to illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin.
The social acceptance of alcohol does nothing to reduce these effects. In fact, this tacit approval makes them more severe. This is because it protects the alcoholic from the consequences that force other addicts to seek help. Social acceptance can make alcoholism seem like nothing more than a bad habit, when unchecked it can eventually drain life of everything valuable.
The Damage of Alcohol Addiction
Alcoholism does tremendous damage to the physical and emotional health of the problem drinker. It can lead to cirrhosis of the liver, stroke, and heart attack. Alcoholism can also cause depression, anxiety, and permanent brain damage. The connection between suicide and alcoholism is well documented. Alcoholics are over a hundred times more likely to commit suicide than persons without a drinking problem. Not to mention the emotional damage alcoholism does to the family.
Alcoholism is easily just as damaging as heroin addiction. In fact, they’re more similar than you think when you look at them closely. Both can lead to serious health problems for instance. Both become consuming obsessions, to the extent that nothing else seems to matter. They also have a similar effect on the personality, which can eventually disintegrate in both cases. And perhaps most important of all, both heroin addiction and alcoholism eventually result in spiritual bankruptcy, isolation, and emptiness.
Alcohol Addiction is Treatable
Fortunately, alcohol and heroin addiction share something else in common as well. They’re both absolutely treatable. Thousands recover from alcoholism every year, but only after they acknowledge the depth of the problem. That’s why we took such great pains to compare alcoholism to heroin addiction, to erode the easy acceptance of the disease that makes recovery so elusive.
The comparison of alcoholism to cocaine and heroin addiction is a useful one.