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    NBC4: One man’s battle with alcohol as abuse stats climb

    By Isabel Cleary
    WCMH – NBC4

    ADAMH, a mental health service in Franklin County, said post-pandemic, alcohol use disorder affects about 1 in 9 adults in the county.

    Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health also shows a troubling trend: more adults and young adults are binge drinking in Franklin County than compared with the national average.

    However, ADAMH said alcohol use disorder goes beyond statistics. It’s also about spreading awareness and creating a space where people feel comfortable asking for help.

    It’s a message one Columbus man is emphasizing as he nears the end of his time at an addiction treatment center.

    In January 2023, Ronald Lockhart woke up in a hospital bed.

    “There was a doctor next to my bed, flipping through this clipboard and he told me I wasn’t going to make it. ‘You’re going to die.’” Lockhart, currently a Maryhaven client, said.

    This wasn’t the first time.

    “That was the 10th time that had happened to me and I had pretty much just given up,” he said. “But this time, I don’t know, I could change. I had changed, I didn’t want to die.”

    Lockhart admits he struggles with addiction.

    “If I take a drink of liquor, I can’t stop drinking,” he said. “And I know there’s people that can understand that.”

    Now he’s sharing his story in the hope it can inspire others to get the help they need.

    “I made up my mind that I was going to stay clean and sober no matter what, and my sobriety date is actually today of last year,” Lockhart said.

    He credits Maryhaven with his progress. Maryhaven, an ADAMH partner, offers addiction counseling, in-patient stays, and much more to help those with substance use disorders live better lives.

    “The other problem with alcohol and other substances is that once you start to use them, your body develops that tolerance to it,” ADAMH System Chief Clinical Officer Dr. Delaney Smith said. “You get psychological dependence on it as well. So it can be very, very hard to stop.”

    ADAMH and its partner organizations are working to make sure people feel comfortable asking for help, no matter if they just realized they are struggling or are at rock bottom.

    “What we’re really wanting to do is open up conversations so people feel comfortable getting help, reaching out to loved ones, maybe starting a conversation with someone that they’re concerned about the pattern of their alcohol use,” Smith said.

    Data sent by ADAMH shows binge drinking in adults and young adults in Central Ohio is higher than both the national and state average by about three percent. They said not only is the area seeing the increasing problematic use of alcohol but also the negative health consequences that come along with it. These can include liver impairment, withdrawal symptoms and even death.

    “I hope if anybody sees this, you can learn from my mistakes because you don’t need to go through all that. It’s not necessary. You can get the help you need,” Lockhart said. “Alcohol is a lot more silent to get addicted to because you don’t realize it until it’s too late.”

    If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol use, ADAMH encourages you to reach out. More information can be found here.

    Read story on NBC4i.com