“O God, that men should put an enemy in their mouths to steal away their brains! that we should, with joy, with pleasance, revel, and applause, transform ourselves into beasts!”
~William Shakespeare, Othello.
Alcohol. The problems it brings. For any component of social lubrication it should bring it brings entire units of harm to the family in the out-of-control user and abuser of the stuff—be these overt or covert problems (for many things are hidden). It is still such a great pity that it features so much on commercial television and other advertising. What are we, as a society, propagating here?
It’s strange how many supposed ‘spiritual people’ “drink” i.e. very routinely. Even if they’re drinking only ‘Drink Safe’ amounts they’ve allowed the world a say in their lives—a world they’ve essentially vowed to be “in” but not “of.” They give an affirmative voice to an enemy, for who would truly drink without wanting some inebriation effect from the activity. Why not instead drink ginger beer or lemon, lime and bitters? Lemonade even.
The problem with drinking, as per any other social disease, is it traps the occasional person against their inner will, and they become dependent on the stuff. Do I lie? Can you give it up indefinitely? Would that trouble you? Honestly. Can you just have one and then stop? Can you happily go out and not drink? Can you take or leave the stuff? Really. Or do any of the foregoing test your resolve and require the slightest semblance of effort to maintain? If it’s “yes” to any of these you don’t need me to tell you that you’ve got a problem with alcohol. Like me, you already know. There’s no shame. What “is,” is.
Then there’s the proven generational factor we all too often forget. Fortunately some of the television advertising has picked up on this.
As I write I know I make myself a party pooper, but only to those with a problem with their drinking, or their view on it. Only the problem drinker has a problem with someone not drinking, whether they voice this or not.
As someone who used to be a problem drinker before giving it up, alcohol (though you might dispute this) has the power to destroy life—ask the millions who frequent the rooms of AA each day over the world. Yet, it’s the insidious affects of alcohol use and abuse that take their toll over the years too. It ages us. It wastes away precious brain cells, millions at a time. It slows our thinking. Who on earth wants to die mentally before they do physically? If gives us cancer. Alcohol is a carcinogen.
“Inside every funny drunk is a whiskey-case full of problems denied.”
It is a blessed person who is allergic. They spit the enemy right out of their mouths and never have another thing to do with it.
Unfortunately I had such a great physical tolerance for the stuff when I did drink and this earned me serious social standing. But it came at great cost. In my case there were no overt costs, but alcohol helped magnificently to erode everything that I’d build over the first ten to fifteen years of my adult life.
But, family breakdown is not the only thing alcohol “assists” with. If you can drink and ‘drink well,’ pause and give consideration to the wider costs. Be honest with yourself.
“Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those in anguish; let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.”
~Proverbs 31:6-7 (NIV).
The above proverb gives voice to the reason people drink—for effects to the slightest inebriation. If we were miserable, we too would drink. Yet, there are other ways of dealing with misery. If inebriation offers us better perception we’ve got a problem with the way we’re seeing the world.
The problem drinker, deep down, knows this is for them; they know deep down this is true. Their problem is how not to drink. What sort of life does that make? Well, there is help. It is the very reason Alcoholics Anonymous was formed. Here’s the twist. It’s the shame in being one. Yet shame (and it’s a hoax, really) is the smallest cost.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.