As American fiction writer Jay Bylsma once said, “Ignorance is a lot like alcohol: the more you have of it, the less you are able to see its effect on you.” These words proved to be true for Ric Flair, the one-time king of the ring who couldn’t rule over his own life. Decades of drinking took a heavy toll on his health and the 16-time pro wrestling world champion experienced a close encounter with death in the emergency room of an undisclosed Georgia hospital. Flair was reportedly suffering from an intestinal blockage, which would require partial removal of his bowel.
“I crashed in an airplane and broke my back, I’ve been hit by lightning, but this is totally different. Anything I’ve been through before is nothing like this,” the 68-year-old wrestler told PEOPLE in a recent interview. On Aug. 11, 2017, after complaining of severe stomach pains, Flair was rushed to the hospital. Years of alcohol abuse had pushed him toward the initial stages of kidney failure. Doctors told distraught family members that Flair had a bleak survival rate of 20 percent, and had to be placed in a medically induced coma. His deplorable condition made his family and fans take to social media requesting for prayers.
After surgically removing a part of Flair’s bowel, doctors have inserted a pacemaker. As he is recovering in an Atlanta treatment center, Flair says that he still has a long way to go till he recovers completely. Once known as the “Nature Boy,” the ailing wrestler needs a nurse to help him drink a glass of water. “I didn’t think I was an alcoholic, but obviously I was,” admitted Flair, speaking of his inability to perform even the most basic of activities.
Flair’s tryst with alcohol began during the early days of his wrestling career when he considered drinking together as the best way to bond and socialize with other fellow wrestlers. However, he maintains that drinking always was an out-of-the-ring activity. Even a stint in a rehab four years ago was of no use, as he was a full-blown alcoholic by then. However, after this ordeal, Flair is sure that he doesn’t want to go through all of this again in his life.
Excessive alcohol consumption is dangerous
Alcoholism is a long-term (chronic) disease, which causes serious health problems and can damage emotional stability, finances, career and relationships. Too much alcohol is dangerous as it disrupts the brain circuits that control impulsiveness and stimulate the nervous system. It has long been known that higher levels of alcohol consumption have been associated with some forms of cancer. Besides, excessive drinking over several years may cause alcohol-related brain damage (ARBD), which covers conditions like alcoholic dementia.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), alcohol addiction is the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States. For long, scientists have considered alcoholism a disease because alcohol gets absorbed into the bloodstream and affects every part of the body, putting the user’s health at serious risk by damaging the heart, brain, liver and kidneys, among others.
Studies have suggested that no type of alcohol is better or worse than another; alcohol itself is harmful to the human body, regardless of whether it is in wine, beer or spirits. Like other deadly diseases, drinking can also get out of control gradually. That’s why it’s important to reconsider one’s drinking habit and seek professional help to kick addiction at the earliest.
Leading an alcohol-free life
Alcohol has become an integral part of American culture and society, endangering the life and well-being of millions nationwide. The NCADD says that alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the U.S., with 17.6 million people suffering from the effects of alcohol abuse.
Just as in the case of any other addictions, breaking free from the clutches of alcohol is only possible through dedicated treatment. Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California, understands the plight of someone who is unable to discontinue the use of alcohol despite the negative impact on his or her life. If you or a loved one is struggling to overcome alcoholism, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our representatives. Our state-of-the-art alcohol addiction treatment centers spread across California are known for their effective recovery programs, which have helped many individuals regain control of their lives.