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What are the Risks of Not Treating Alcohol Addiction?

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If you have a loved one who is in need of alcohol addiction treatment, convincing them to accept help is usually a major challenge. You might be hesitant to take action, but it is so worth the time, effort, and agony. Alcohol treatment, especially residential rehab, will help your loved one experience a renewal in their life and a transformation that brings them back to you, back to their interests and responsibilities, and back to what is important and life-giving. But more importantly, alcoholism treatment will save your loved one from their sickness, help them take control of their thoughts and actions, and heal their psychological and spiritual wounds, bringing them closer to God and the peace He brings through His unfailing love.
The efforts and costs of treatment aren’t trivial, but the grim reality is the costs of not treating alcohol addiction are numerous and serious, causing spiritual and physical harm, psychological wounds, and material losses.

Spiritual Harm and Darkness

First and foremost, alcoholism that is allowed to continue affects a person’s spiritual wellness, leading to darkness, despair, and depression. This creates a cycle that worsens as the person self-medicates with alcohol to numb this pain and escape discomfort.

Separation from God. Alcoholism separates the person from God because of continued sinning. God loves us and forgives sin, but when we continue in the same sin day after day, we draw closer to alcohol and pull away from God, not wanting to hear His law and commands, and not feeling worthy of His forgiveness because of shame and guilt.

Ignoring the voice of the Holy Spirit. Alcoholism squelches the voice and power of the Holy Spirit to work in the person’s life. Instead of following God’s will and focusing on what He wants, when we are controlled by our desire to keep sinning, we listen to our own sinful fleshly thoughts instead.

Separation from other believers. A person who suffers with alcohol addiction will also separate themselves from the community of believers they have been close with in the past. This means giving up the opportunity to ask for prayers, encouragement, safety, accountability, and guidance from others who have a Godly focus on life. Instead the addict is all alone when they need connection the most.

Loss of hope. An alcohol addiction robs a person of hope. When we don’t have hope through God’s love and promises, we have no peace, no energy and motivation to move forward, and we resist forgiveness. This leads to depression, anxiety, and spiraling deeper into addiction.

Demonic oppression. Finally, turning from God toward alcoholism opens the mind to demonic activity and oppression. When the Holy Spirit isn’t on the throne of our heart, we begin to look elsewhere for comfort and connection. This is the perfect time for the devil to get to work to make the separation from God even greater.

Physical Harm

The physical risks of ongoing alcoholism are numerous. Alcoholism is toxic to every part of the person’s body and being, from the vital organs like brain and heart, extensive systems like our blood vessels and nerves, and many systems like the immune and digestive systems, including sexual health.

Alcohol causes immediate impairment to the brain. Toxins interfere with thinking, judgment, emotions, decision-making, motor control, and coordination, and when blood alcohol level is high, cause seizures. Chronic alcohol use leads to early and irreversible dementia.

Excessive alcohol use causes damage to every organ in the body, and can cause:

  • Cardiac, lung, liver, cancers
  • Reproductive and immune system dysfunction
  • Decreased nerve and muscle function and movement
  • Circulation, heart problems, and stroke
  • Dangerous behaviors leading to fights, falls, car accidents, and other physical injuries
  • HIV and sexually transmitted diseases
  • Brain damage
  • Many psychiatric conditions – Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety, Panic Disorder, Psychoses, Schizophrenia, Hallucinations, Sexual Disorders, Sleep Disorders, Thinking and Memory Impairment, Eating Disorders, Bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder, Impulse Disorders.

Read more about the physical effects of alcoholism here.

Psychological Wounds

A significant danger of alcoholism is the psychological harm it perpetuates. Someone who is an addict will struggle with poor decision-making, and as they continue to rely on the alcohol crutch to get them through tough times, thus experiencing more psychological issues and wounds. The person will have low self-confidence and insecurity and will be easily overwhelmed. They will lack self-discipline, impulse control, and patience. All this will cause the person to have superficial relationships, loneliness, lack relational reliability or trustworthiness. The cumulative result is an immature person with many wounds and hurts and struggles with a poor track record, sticking to a strategy for improvement and not able to be relied on or expected to accomplish anything.

Alcoholism affects entire families, and this family struggle causes further emotional chaos in the addict. The emotional stress of a sour relationship, the disappointment of knowing they have let down loved ones, and the stress of daily conflict leads to increasing psychological anguish.

Material Costs

Finally, the material costs of alcoholism cannot be overlooked. Your loved one will have a host of financial, legal, housing, occupational, and health issues related to their addiction.

They will have difficulty maintaining their material possessions like their home, car, and other valuable items. Most of what they own and earn will go to pay for more alcohol, other risky sexual or gambling behavior, or be lost due to poor judgment and decision-making. Compounding the problem, the addict will have trouble keeping a job, leading to increased financial difficulty and more stress and impulsive spending.

They will get in trouble with the law because of things like drunk driving and poor impulse control and decision-making. They may suffer legally because of domestic violence and fights with friends or strangers alike.

If your loved one does not get help for their alcohol addiction, they will experience costs associated with health care and health insurance. Because of the toll alcoholism takes on the body, there will be increased doctor and emergency room visits, leading to a hike in insurance and medical costs.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Brings Healing

On the flip side, alcohol rehab and the healing it brings will provide countless benefits for your loved one and your family. The person will be physically healthier, emotionally happier, and more psychologically stable. Experiencing Christian rehab, they will develop a closer connection with their God and Savior, which will renew their mind, transform their life, and deliver lasting peace and hope.

When you take a step back and look at all the different ways untreated alcoholism affects a person’s life, you will be compelled to find help for your loved one. A solid Christian rehab program will help address underlying issues of alcoholism and help your loved one get back to the life they long for and achieve their God-given potential.