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Mickey Mantle and the Madness of Alcohol (Part 1)

Georgia Alcohol Abuse Statistics from the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics.

Statistics indicate Georgia has a higher rate of underage drinkers than the majority of states.

  • 15.1% of Georgia adults over 18 binge drink at least once per month.

  • The median number of drinks per binge is 5.3; the 25% most active drinkers consume a median 7.5 drinks per binge.

  • Binge-drinking adults binge a median 1.6 times monthly; the 25% most active drinkers binge 4.1 times per month.

  • An average of 3,953 annual deaths in Georgia are attributable to excessive alcohol use.

  • The 5-year average annual rate of excessive alcohol deaths per capita in Georgia increased by as much as 46.4% from 2015 to 2019.

  • Georgia averages one (1) death from excessive alcohol use for every 2,710 people aged 18 and older or 4.83 deaths for every 10,000 adults.

  • 69.3% of people who die from excessive alcohol use in Georgia are male.

  • 55.3% of excessive alcohol use deaths are from chronic causes, such as Alcohol Use Disorder.

  • 81.6% of deaths in Georgia from excessive alcohol use are adults aged 35 years and older.

  • 3.67% of people in Georgia who die from excessive alcohol use are under the age of 21.

  • The CDC estimates 104,946 years of potential life is lost to excessive alcohol use each year.

The following words are not my own. They are taken from a book I own entitled, Biblical Counseling Keys on Alcohol & Drug Abuse: Breaking Free & Staying Free (Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart, 2008), by June Hunt. She takes her material from several sources, including the following:

Mickey Mantle: His Final Inning (Garland, TX: American Tract Society, n.d.), by Ed Cheek.

“The Last Days of Mickey Mantle,” Dallas Observer, December 14, 1995, by David Falkner,

A Hero All His Life: A Memoir by the Mantle Family (New York: HarperCollins, 1996); Merlyn Mantle, et al., with Mickey Herskowitz,

“He was an all-American hero. Some say he was the greatest baseball player of all time. Mickey Mantle had it all—fame, fortune, and millions of fans. On the day of his high school graduation, he signed with the world-renowned New York Yankees, a decision that placed Mickey on the road to stardom.

“The statistics support his superstar status: 536 career home runs, three Most Valuable Player awards, a career batting average of .298, seven World Championships, and baseball’s Triple Crown—leading the entire Major League in the highest batting average, most home runs, and most runs batted in.1

“But in the midst of all of Mickey’s accomplishments, more than adrenaline was pumping through his veins. Too often, dangerous quantities of alcohol also coursed through his body, poisoning what God had uniquely made … ultimately causing his premature death.

“For Mickey, the cry of his heart—and that of every addict—could easily echo the writer of the Psalms.…”

Psalm 25:17

The troubles of my heart are enlarged:

O bring thou me out of my distresses.

“They call it ‘the good life’—the pleasures of swimming in a sea of booze … the fans always buying drinks for their heroes … the complimentary wine bottles in all hotel rooms.

‘The Mick,’ as Mickey Mantle was nicknamed, and his buddies considered it ‘the measure of being a man.’ How well they held their liquor, drink after drink—without physical or emotional collapse—was their symbol of ‘manliness.’

“Much later, however, Mickey recognized ‘the good life’ wasn’t ‘good’ at all: Mickey said, ‘Baseball didn’t turn me into a drunk. I drank because I thought we were having fun. It was part of the camaraderie, the male bonding thing.’ But what he called the bonding thing became more his breaking thing—the breakdown of his health and untimely death solely due to alcoholism.

“Although written centuries before, the Psalms reflect the sorrow in the life of this addicted hero.…”

Psalm 116:3

3 The sorrows of death compassed me,

And the pains of hell gat hold upon me:

I found trouble and sorrow.

Come back next week to find out what drove Mickey to drink and how his alcohol problem grew and manifested itself and eventually broke him!

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