How does alcoholism kill people

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buster poser

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I've had a couple friends and fam I saw very near the physical end, jaundiced to the point of being visibly yellow, "death warmed over," as the old man says. As above, I've also known plenty of "functional" alcoholics who killed themselves slowly, cirrhosis being their primary driver of poor overall health.

The last three people I knew who were really at the brink had pronounced swelling, notably the feet/belly, liver just unable to do its thing anymore. Two of 'em managed to turn it around, but one of 'em was dead at 55; couldn't stop and wouldn’t try, even in the hospital, where his wife helped him quite literally drink himself to death. His stated goal. Grim.

Louis Theroux's "Drinking to Oblivion" (vimeo, free in US at least) covers it pretty well from a human if not medical perspective.
 
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ping-ping-clicka

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I became a heavy alcoholic pretty quickly at a young age, went on for a decade, I'm three years sober. I grew up in a scary house and was running from trauma, a lot of people seek a sense of warmth and comfort from a bottle because they it's the first place they've ever found it, and it can be hard to convince them in their heart of hearts that with effort they can find it elsewhere

In my experience it is better to encourage alcoholics with the benefits of not drinking, than it is to discourage them from drinking with the negative effects of drinking. The former might inspire them when they think of it later, the latter will just make them resentful--in their mind it is not as if the world has ever given them a better alternative. At least in my experience
thank you for your thoughtful and very positive post.
Congratulations on the change that you have chosen
I'm glad for you that you had the opportunity to chose to make that change .
I believe that I quit drinking because I felt that alcohol was no longer my "friend "
no longer offered me a sense of warmth and comfort that it once did.
 

Recce

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I know 100% of what you mean. When you’re a few drinks in ramping up and you hit that premium mental state. For me, music sounded 20x better - going straight to my feelings and bypassing the normal filtering. It was brief on my way to getting drunk but it was like nirvana. Some historical author called it “liquid sunshine”. I’ve stopped drinking but completely related to this.
By the way I do drink. But, for y’all who have problems you need to stop talking about the sweet spot. Don’t convince yourself to start again. Not a good thing. Remain under control.
 

Trenchant63

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By the way I do drink. But, for y’all who have problems you need to stop talking about the sweet spot. Don’t convince yourself to start again. Not a good thing. Remain under control.
Yes!! Agreed. For every “sweet spot” there is an equal if not proportionally worse downside (hangover, depression, other). It’s an illusion.
 

Tonecrafte

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I'm curious how people die from alcoholism.

A little background.. I had a best friend Phil, we were best friends all throughout high school, he was one of the best man in my wedding back in 1985. He moved to Austin and I've always lived in Houston but we would always get together once or twice a month to play guitars all night long. When he got a Gibson Les Paul I was able to buy him a Marshall Bluesbreaker amp... I mean we were -best- friends.

Then Phil's life totally fell apart. He always drank too much whiskey but it seriously got out of hand. He lost his job.. His wife divorced him. His young daughter didn't want anything to do with him anymore. I tried to help.. I tried to tell him he needed to quit drinking. You can guess the rest.. Phil told me to F-off and I haven't spoken to him in the last 7 or 8 years. This was very hard on me as you can guess. I've only written one song in my life but it was about losing my best friend and wanting to play guitars with him "just one more day".

I was talking to a mutual friend recently and he caught me up. Apparently Phil is now in a hospital in Dallas and he is dying of alcoholism. His brain has quit working, his body is shutting down. Apparently he sometimes calls his ex wife thinking it is 10 years ago and they are still married. It is all incredibly tragic, but at this point I hope Phil passes soon so he is no longer hurting, and he no longer can hurt anyone else.

So I guess my questions are, how is it that alcohol can kill someone? Is there a stage where the damage is so great there is no going back?

From what I understand, and I may be wrong, marijuana doesn't kill people, and if you quit smoking and given enough time, the damage is reversed. Is alcohol so much worse? Does the body actually quit from all the alcohol, or is it the brain that gives up and dies first? And if someone is actually hospitalized from alcoholism, is there no hope left?

Sorry for the downer topic.. It just hit me pretty hard recently when I heard about Phil dying in a hospital... we used to be best friends.

Take care ya'll....
My dad, who was a life long alcoholic, passed away in 2002 from acute pancreatitis, and comorbid kidney and liver failure. He was only 39 years old, and I was 6 or 7. Alcoholism leads to a number of different liver diseases, like sorosis. When you stop drinking the withdrawal can actually be deadly as well, so it’s important for hardcore alcoholics to seek medical assistance when quitting. I’m sure a not-insignificant percentage of deaths among chronic alcoholics are also caused by accidents stemming from impaired motor function as well.
 

Recce

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I just read up on both of these musicians.. so incredibly sad!! I had no idea Hank Williams was only 29 when he died of alcoholism, and his hit Your Cheating Heart was released after he died.

Terribly tragic. :(
Hank Williams died from a mixture of alcohol and pain medication riding in the back seat of his Cadillac driving to another gig. I have always considered him an honorary member of the 27 Club because of his young age, how he died and he was close to 27.
 

Spox

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Re my earlier post re my two friends and one of them going dark on me over the last three weeks. Through reading this thread and talking via text to the other friend I became really worried about him and texted again today but no reply. The other friend suggested me going to his house to check through the letterbox etc but I had already arranged to visit the other friend who lives in the opposite direction. When I got to his place I decided to phone the friend I was worrying about and half expected someone else to answer with bad news but he answered after about three rings, sounded sober and coherent and chatted for a bit, I put him onto the other friend as they used be friends, a gigging band etc, but had drifted apart, and they spent most of the conservation catching up re work etc. When I went back to talking to him the one I was worried about said that he just keeps weird hours when not at work and this is true, he texts me at 5.00am etc.

So I was glad to hear that he is still kicking, made arrangements to catch up maybe next week and I spent the rest of the night with the other friend as he got drunk watching bad TV.
 

fretknot

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Sorry to hear about the loss of your friend.

Organ failure is a big one. Esophageal cancer, pancreatitis, cirrhosis. I've seen it up close (family) and it's a very ugly death.

Let's not forget death by having a blackout behind the wheel of a car.

I put the plug in the jug in 2003. No looking back.
 
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John Backlund

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I almost never drink anything alcoholic, maybe a beer every other month or two, but I don't really know why. It's not like I have any particularly conscious aversion to it, but it just doesn't appeal to me very much.

My younger brother Jim, however, died at the age of 49 in 2003, and his drinking was what killed him.

I don't know why he took that path, or why I didn't.
 

Robert Booker

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Alcohol is a poison. Consume small non-lethal doses of rat poison over many years and it will eventually kill you because the body can no longer keep up and repair the damage as fast as it occurs.

This does not even consider the non-physical (mental/emotional) aspects of alcoholism and how it affects attitudes, relationships, etc.
Spot on. Drink enough alcohol over a long enough period of time and every organ in your body begins to shut down. Trying to drink yourself to death isn't easy either. It takes a concerted effort over a long period of time.

I know because I tried that myself and I would not advise it as a way to go. That was a long time ago and obviously I failed. I've been sober now for over 12 years but there's always at least some lasting damage.
 

ping-ping-clicka

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Yes, our disease wants us to remember the good times and try to convince us that we can drink responsibly.
oh I was a terrible drunk , throw up blind drug blackout failure.
I could never get it right, I know that for sure. I thought that I was suppose to be able to drink, I felt obliged to drink, to be one of us, drinking and being good friends sharing drinks, and there's me , puking my guts out, fall down drunk, and not even having a good time. And finally somebody told me it's o.k. not to drink.
I can not forget what a wonderfully colossal failure I was at drinking.
I was 35 when I was relieved of the compulsion to drink and use.
Today I'm 74 and today I am still in possession of the gift, which I cherish.
Oh, yeah it's still one day at a time, and I do remember amphetamine psychosis, and the compulsion. That terrible compulsion to self destruct.
Scares the pooh out of me, that dungeon in the pit, and it scares me today, so I do the things that carry me away from that miserable bottom one day at a time.
14,235 days, one day at a time, adds up, but it's still and always will be just for today, one day at a time.


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Wound_Up

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In case anyone hasnt specifically stated it, alcoholism itself doesn't kill people. Its the effects of alcoholism that kills people. Liver shutting down. DT's aka tremors. Possibility of stroke increases substantially. Allllllll sorts of problems. A few minutes on your favorite search engine will give you all the info you ever need on alcoholism and how it kills people.


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