I remember my parents frequently saying that our next-door neighbor, Mr. T, a friendly and kind man in his early 70s, was “talking to the four roses.” I was only 8 or 9 years old at the time and completely puzzled by my parents’ remark. Mr. T’s wife had recently died but that did not seem to explain him talking to a rose, let alone to four roses.
I tried to catch a glimpse of Mr. T having a conversation with the roses. On the many evenings that he was in his yard talking, I never saw a rose anywhere. How could this be? As I listened to Mr. T speaking through the open windows on summer nights, I was certain that there must be four beautiful roses in a vase sitting on a table in his living room – my parents’ remarks could not be wrong!
It would be many years until I learned that Mr. T turned to drinking Four Roses bourbon to cope with his wife’s death. His relationship with the Four Roses grew more intense over time until it eventually resulted in his death.
Alcohol consumption is widely accepted in the US. According to a recent Gallup poll, around 63% of adults age 18 and older responded that they drank alcohol in 2021 and 2022. This result is consistent with Gallup’s polling results in the last couple of decades. Since Gallup began doing this poll in 1939, the highest percentage reporting they drank was 71% in the 1970s and the low was 55% in 1958. Although drinking is a major part of American way of life it is not without problems.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and understanding of the causes, risks, and treatments for alcohol use disorders. A recent study found that there are no health benefits to drinking any kind of alcohol. In fact, alcohol misuse is linked to more than 200 diseases and injury-related conditions, and raises the risk of getting several kind of cancers such as colon, liver, mouth/throat, and breast (in women). Each year more than 140,000 adults aged 20 to 64 die each year from alcohol misuse, making it one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the US. Alcohol-induced death rates in the 65-and-older population have been increasing since 2011, rising more than 18% from 2019 to 2020.
Read more about alcohol use in Last Call!
- Hitting the Headlines: Adderall misuse, teen bariatric surgery and sugary drinks & diabetes risks.
- Last Call: “Sober curious”, zero health benefits of drinking and the role of ageism & stigma in alcohol abuse treatment.
- Perspectives to Ponder: Saying goodbye to a transplanted heart, who should get a liver transplant & the ethics of VIP care.
- Drink Up?: including my personal favorite, Are Smoothies Good For You?
Hitting the Headlines
Perspectives to Ponder
Enjoy the weekend!
Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]