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Millions of Americans battle alcohol addiction

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. --  Alcohol abuse is something that millions of Americans struggle with, and it’s an ongoing battle that continues into recovery.

"I would never say that the disease of addiction gets easier, it never does,” Al Unser Jr. told members of the media as he spoke to a crowd of students about his battle with alcohol abuse earlier this month.

"Really, the biggest race I’ve ever been in is the race with the disease.”

It’s a race that millions of Americans struggle with everyday. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 15 million Americans over the age of 18 struggle with alcohol use disorder, but less than 7% receive treatment.

“The thing we have to remember is that these aren’t just numbers we are talking about, they’re family members, they’re coworkers, they’re neighbors,” said Scott Watson, a Substance Abuse Professional with Heartland Interventions LLC.

Watson helps people find their way to recovery. He says it’s important for people to seek professional help and guidance for the best treatment possible.

“There are a lot of people out there who struggle, and they need help," Watson said. "Some people can do it on their own, but really there are a lot more that can not do it on their own.”

“I really didn’t know what life was supposed to look like until I did this twelve-step,” said EJ, who's now three and half years into his recovery from alcohol and cocaine addiction.

"You’ve got to really want it. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”

Watson wants people to know there is hope. He’s now seventeen years into his own recovery, and while it’s a difficult battle, it’s a battle no one has to fight alone.

“It’s important to be able to have this conversation and to say that no matter where you’re at, whether you’re wondering if you have a problem or whether you know you’ve got a problem and you continue to struggle with it, help is always always available,” Watson said.

If you are struggling with addiction and need help call 1-800-662-HELP. If you`re having an emergency call 2-1-1 to be connected to available providers.

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