In my family, several members have died “from alcoholism”. Of course you can’t die from an addiction – you die from a disease caused by the addiction. These people died from cirrhosis of the liver or alcoholic hepatitis. Either way, alcohol killed them.

Alcohol does a real number on the liver. By keeping the body in a constant state of dehydration and making the liver work WAY too hard, the liver of an alcoholic becomes excessively fatty. This is the beginning of liver disease.

On an episode of “Celebrity Rehab”, Dr. Drew examinee one of his patients and notes the large, hard liver that this young girl has. Clearly, it is because of excessive alcohol consumption. She is on the road to death.

Cirrhosis of the liver occurs when the organ becomes fibroid and goes into failure and is common in long-term, hard-core alcoholics.

Interestingly enough, many people who suffer from liver disease do not correlate the disease with their alcohol usage. This is because they don’t think of themselves as alcoholics. Their “moderate, everyday use” or “social drinking” does not put them into the category of skid-row alcoholic. So, although they may be able to hold a job and get up every morning, they are really doing long-term damage to their health.

The family members that I know of who have died from alcoholism were all heavy, everyday drinkers with full-time jobs and families. They worked their entire lives, they had homes, and they didn’t drink first thing in the morning. They were everyday people who enjoyed more than a few drinks. Most people would classify them as social drinkers. Social drinking – but really it was alcoholism – killed them.