Alcohol is very much a part of South Florida’s social scene, whether it’s enjoyed at bars and restaurants, in nightclubs, at sporting events, or at home. Mixed drinks, cocktails, beer, and wine are on menus and store shelves everywhere, and many adults of legal drinking age can have these beverages and know when they’ve had enough. But among the people who drink are those who struggle with either developing or having an alcohol addiction that could bring dark days ahead.
The widespread use of alcohol is hard to get away from, as it appears to be everywhere, and such is the case in Miami Gardens, a city in north Miami-Dade County that’s fewer than 20 miles away from Miami and a stone’s throw from neighboring Broward County. As of July 2019, Miami Gardens had a population of 110,001 residents. The city, which is made up of neighborhoods that were unincorporated, was formally established in 2003, and it reportedly is the largest Florida city in which the majority of the residents are black and African American.
Miami Gardens is also home to the Hard Rock Stadium, which hosts Miami Dolphins football games and the Jazz in the Gardens music festival, among other happenings. It also hosted the Super Bowl LIV in February 2020 as well as Super Bowl XLIV in 2010 when the venue was called Sun Life Stadium.
One of the benefits of living near a vibrant city like Miami is that you get to enjoy the amenities it offers and still enjoy the comforts of a suburban community if you wish. But living in an area like Miami Gardens, which is situated between two major cities — Miami to the south and Fort Lauderdale to the north — often brings inevitable challenges with it. It’s difficult for problems of big city life not to spill over into surrounding communities, such as poverty, crime, and substance addiction.
When it comes to alcohol, it’s challenging to figure out how many people have a real problem with alcohol that requires professional treatment. But data gives a picture of how many Americans struggle with alcohol use disorder, which is a severe addiction to alcohol.
According to the results of the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 14.8 million people aged 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder. A report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics gives an idea of how much people in Miami are shelling out for libations. It says that, “spending on alcoholic beverages in Miami averaged $375 per household over 2013–14, compared with $362 in the South and $454 in the United States.”
The report also noted that between 2010 to 2014, Miami spending on alcohol away from home also went up, growing faster than spending on alcohol at home. Data show spending on wine away from home increased during that period as well.
Numbers such as these hints that drinking culture is alive and well in the Miami metropolitan area. Unfortunately, some people who partake in alcoholic beverages will find themselves having to decide if they need to seek treatment if they find it hard to control their drinking.
Alcohol Abuse Often Goes Unnoticed
The abuse of alcohol flies under many people’s radars because it’s easy to hide. The addictive legal substance is available in many places — convenience stores, liquor shops, and supermarkets. Also, society overall has become desensitized to getting “wasted” or having too much to drink, as this practice has been normalized in American society. The truth is excessive drinking, especially excessive drinking that occurs regularly, is a problem worth pausing to address.
Alcohol usage is also hard to track, so, all too often, the wrong people end up using it. Underage drinking among middle-school and high-school-age students remains a concern, and alcohol’s widespread access and acceptance, along with the pressure to drink, can lead many to develop alcohol use disorder (AUD). This can happen without the awareness of one’s friends and family.
As noted earlier, millions of people have AUD, which the Mayo Clinic says is a “pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.”
If this definition applies to you or someone you know, you might want to consider entering an alcohol rehab program.
Drinking Too Much Alcohol Is Risky
It’s important to know when “too much of a good thing” isn’t good at all. Responsible drinking requires setting limits that one can stick to, but not everyone will follow this advice. Unfortunately, not setting reasonable drinking limits is dangerous for drinkers and everyone around them.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) writes that alcohol-related causes kill about 88,000 people every year.
It also highlights that excessive alcohol use is considered the third leading preventable cause of death.
Alcohol use is also risky because it can impair judgment and prompt people to use it along with other drugs to either enhance the high or take the edge off it.
Polydrug use, when two or more drugs are used at the same time, is common among substance users, and it’s a practice that could bring permanent injury or death.
In Florida in 2016, alcohol was present in nearly one-half of all drug-related deaths statewide. Users mix the substance with prescription and illegal drugs either on purpose or by accident, but be advised that the combination of these substances is dangerous and deadly.
Other dangers of too much alcohol are:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Sexually transmitted diseases, sexually transmitted infections
- Physical violence between intimate partners, spouses
- Sexual violence
- Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (pregnant women are discouraged from drinking)
Excessive alcohol use also includes binge drinking, which can occur when a person is alone or with friends. Bingeing on alcohol is when too many drinks are consumed in a short period, usually two hours. Men who have five or more drinks and women who consume four or more drinks are binge drinking.
This kind of drinking does not necessarily mean someone is addicted to alcohol. However, it can lead to an addiction, and it can also lead to death from alcohol poisoning or another unfortunate event.
Quick Treatment Facts
Addiction is a chronic disorder of the brain that can result from excessive substance use. It is treatable with the proper program. Just as one’s experiences with addiction differ, so does their treatment program. The most effective recovery program one can enroll involves addressing the person’s unique set of needs with various therapies and services.
Many treatment centers conduct an assessment during the admissions process to determine where they should start on the continuum of care, as explained by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Addiction care professionals at the facility will teach clients strategies to help them understand the reasons behind their addiction and what they can do to avoid relapse and maintain their personal sobriety goals.