Uncle Jack used to drink. A lot. I can never remember ever seeing him without a drink in his hand. In the daytime he would drink beer. Maybe he would have a glass of wine with dinner. After that, he hit the hard stuff. He would stick with Jack Daniels, or any kind of whiskey that was on hand, and during the holidays, mixed drinks were on his menu.

Uncle Jack was extremely over-weight even though he didn’t seem to ever eat that much. His legs swelled, he always complained about a racing heart, and he seemed to always be struggling for breath. He coughed all the time and it was simply disgusting.

Uncle Jack was suffering from alcoholic cardiomyopathy. Very similar to the liver diseases caused by alcoholism, alcoholic cardiomyopathy is caused by long-term use of alcohol and leads to heart failure, and in Uncle Jack’s case, death.

We all seem to forget that alcohol is not a good thing to put into the body. Alcohol is toxic. So toxic in fact, that it can destroy the body’s organs. So, in addition to all the other problems that alcoholism causes – the loss of money, family, friends, jobs, the personality problems, the sexual problems, the legal issues – alcohol also destroys your body from the inside out.

Had Uncle Jack not died from this disease back in the 70’s, he would today be diagnosed by either an EKG or a chest x-ray and put on medications to reverse some of the damage that was being done. He would be told to drop the bottle, start exercising, and take care of himself. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Uncle Jack, much like several other members of my family and so many others, died from alcoholism.