Monday, October 29, 2018

Alcohol Use, the Quiet Epidemic in the U.S.

True, in recent years the opiate epidemic has rallied the troops to take action to curtail this hideous disease which continues to plague our country. Government efforts, law enforcement actions, local and family campaigns work tirelessly to combat the ugly death and destruction resulting from drug use, yet it seems to escalate daily despite all the efforts being used to eradicate it.

Now I'm not saying we should give up this fight, because one life saved is definitely worth anything and everything we can do to protect and serve. However, as Vince Mercuri cited in his Thursday, October 25th article, 'Alcohol Use Is The Quiet Epidemic In The U.S.' in the Tribune-Review, Westmoreland Edition, we need to get behind the war on alcohol consumption with the same earnest intent. People are dying and causing death while under the influence and few seem to notice. Perhaps, because drinking has been around for so long that it has become socially acceptable, and sadly we've become numb to the staggering statistics surrounding this horrific nemesis.

Rather than try to paraphrase Mr. Mercuri's excellent coverage on the topic of alcoholism, from this point forward I have chosen to quote him:
"On Aug. 23, a global study from British journal, The Lancet, addressed the health effects from alcohol consumption. The study was conducted between 1990 and 2016 in 195 countries with male and female subjects ages 15 - 49. Researchers found that alcohol use was the leading risk factor for death and disability, accounting for nearly 10% of all deaths globally which equates to about 2.8 million alcohol-related deaths annually."

Further into his report, Mercuri states that "While these numbers are staggering, what is most frightening is the lack of basic knowledge regarding the physical impact alcohol has on the human body...Ninety-five percent of alcohol consumed is absorbed into the bloodstream through the lining of the stomach and small intestine, then quickly travels throughout the body: Every single cell and tissue is negatively effected by alcohol consumption. Even casual social patterns of use have the potential for significant health problems..."

I was taken aback by the number of health issues  related to drinking: cancers of the larynx, the esophagus, and breast cancer, liver failure and heart disease are specifically named, pointing the finger at about 15% of breast cancer deaths the result of alcoholic intake each year. I find that extremely shocking since I've never associated drinking and cancer before, have you?

Timothy Niami, co-author of this 26 year study, stated that, "Alcohol is a known cancer-causing agent in humans, but it has been severely overlooked and a preventable cause of cancer deaths. This reflects a public health blind spot."

Finally for this discussion, Mr. Mercuri shines a light on past contradictions held steadfast for decades by our medical communities.

"...Previous health guidelines espoused health benefits associated with consuming up to two drinks per day; the  Lancet study says that any benefits were offset by the risks of developing 23 other  alcohol-related diseases, specifically cancers and alcohol-related accidents..."

I've taken the liberty to make bold those facts in this article that are worthy of your careful consideration, I'm not trying to be a know-it-all, I'm trying to help save your life.

Blessings and Peace

Monday, October 22, 2018

There Are No Words

After listening to the heartache of someone who has been visited by death more often and in so short a time than anybody should ever have to endure, I was compelled to find words of comfort, but found none. Hopefully the giving of myself will be able to lift her spirit even a little.

There Are No Words

All through the night,
I searched in vain
for just the right words
to ease your pain.

As night became day,
My mind still blank,
Any hopes that I had
Eventually sank.

Finally it hit me,
No words could convey
The loss that you suffered
In the harshest of ways.

Instead join my tears
With those you have cried
For all of your loved ones
Whom to early have died.

Allow me some heartache
You feel deep inside,
Knowing I'm with you,
Aware that I've tried.

Give me your sadness
To help lighten the load,
As you travel without them
Life's tumultuous road.

Extend your hand,
And I'll tightly grab hold
To walk right beside you
When you're empty and cold.

Any strength and courage
You find missing today,
Take all that you need,
Glad to give it away.

If there's ever a time
You decide not to fight,
Remember I'm with you
To move towards the light.

We both know the truth
That closure's a lie,
Our hearts remain broken
When love ones have died.

Yet being together
With no words to say,
I think is more helpful
Than going our way...alone.

There are no words.

Blessings and Peace, dear child. my love is all I have to give.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Oh, So Weary

I was ten years old when my family got our first television set. My brother and I were playing catch in the backyard. My mother yelled out the window for us to come in, she had a big surprise for us. As we entered the living room, sitting in the far corner was a huge piece of furniture with a very tiny screen smack dab in the middle of it! And so our love affair with watching T.V. began.

In its infancy, television broadcasting was extremely limited.  If I remember correctly, shows were available only a few hours a day, the rest of the time a test pattern symbol accompanied by an annoying noise was the only choice we had.

From the moment Katilius delivered it, every evening after dinner and baths, we gathered around the television to watch the news and 'a few wholesome shows like 'Howdy Doody' and 'Sky King.'
Saturdays were special because at 7:00 wrestling was on.  Oh how my Baba loved wrestling! She'd cheer loudly for her favorites and boo the ones that, in her opinion, were playing dirty.

For many years, the only violence produced and viewed then was wrestling. Fast-forward to 2018, turn on the T.V. at any time on any day, and all you see is violence! Literally every show, even cartoons, is infiltrated with whacks, smacks, and cruelty. Fighting, bullying, cursing and worse are what lures us to watch. Take that stuff out, and the show in question will suffer miserable ratings and be canceled in the blink of an eye. And let's be honest here, we are all guilty of tuning into programs that scare and offend our sensibilities.

Perhaps the most violent television broadcasting today isn't the weekly shows though, but the daily news. In the beginning, the purpose of the news was to inform and alert, and sometimes even to uplift. Only 15 minutes was allotted for said programming twice daily during the week. I really don't ever remember watching the news on the weekends. Now television networks schedule news programs anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes at a clip, and vie for the bragging rights to present the most recent and most horrific events of the day. "You heard it here first," is commonly expressed so casual viewers will become regulars.

The content of today's news is a constant reporting of shootings, stabbings, killings, drug seller take-downs, cases of domestic and sexual abuse, political bad-mouthing, fraud, and the list goes on and on! Rarely, if ever, is something wholesome presented. After all, who wants to watch good when evil is so much more exciting, right? And because of  the major channels' time extensions, these tragedies are repeated over and over again so that eventually we become numb to the violent world we now live in. When a shooting occurs, we don't flinch, but ask if the victim lived or died. When a child goes missing, we simply assume a family member was responsible and move on, and if a house fire is reported, we wonder if arson was the cause.

It's gotten to the point that I watch the news at noon and skip the rest of the broadcasts. I am so weary of what T.V. stations deem as 'news worthy,' oh, so weary!