ALCOHOL

DEFINITION

Alcohol

A liquor or brew containing alcohol as the active agent

(Intoxicant) A drug that can produce a state of intoxication

I drink because I’m happy

I drink to celebrate

I drink when I’m unhappy

I drink to commiserate

I drink to your health

I drink to mine

I drink to whatever

I just like wine

I drink because I’m old enough

I drink because I can

I drink and drink and drink and drink

Till the day I finally die

Let’s go into this very, very carefully, shall we? This is something so serious that it requires the utmost attention. Alcohol is something so powerful, that it is able to do the following to a human in a short space of time. It makes people kill each other, laugh, feel super-confident, fight, argue, hurt each other, become depressed, fall in love, feel sexy, fall out of love, become jealous, have fun, do things we don’t remember the next day, make us sick, makes us take risks, lower our inhibitions, and makes us feel tired and irritable the next day. It can even affect our balance system, our motor controls, and we fall over. This is something so powerful it can have wildly differing effects on the emotions.

Quite a long list for such an innocuous little word of seven characters, isn’t it?

“Alcohol”

This is strong stuff! Now I hear some of you thinking, “I don’t drink much, I drink in moderation; I only have the occasional glass of wine with my dinner, just because it tastes nice.” But if you don’t drink it regularly, why drink it at all? Well, alcohol makes you feel different, doesn’t it? Even just one glass of wine, one pint of beer, one shot of vodka. I’m sure nobody who has a stressful day at work goes to a pub or wine bar and orders a pint of water! Do you? I know I wouldn’t.

    So let’s imagine the scenario. You have just driven home through annoying traffic jams, everything at work was stressful, maybe somebody wasn’t very nice to you today, or it was hot and you are tired (it happens). So you decide to pop in for a drink on your way home; what are you thinking? What do you imagine when you order your drink, and what does it feel like when you take the first sip? “Ahhhh, that’s better!”

    You see, alcohol acts quickly as a suppressant of the nervous system, and for that moment, you do feel better, more relaxed; more “normal.” But what is alcohol’s real purpose? Is it not to block out reality, to numb our emotional pain centres, to distract us from the drudgery of day to day life; to cure us of angry and hurt feelings, and give us a chance to feel better, even for a short moment in time?

    All of us work hard in the world, a lot of us work monday to friday, some work weekends as well. And what is the feeling in the general workplace on a friday afternoon, or on your last day before you have a day off? Most people can’t wait to get off home to have a drink to “celebrate” the end of the week, to “relax,” and to “chill out.”

I deserve it!

I remember thinking the same, and I remember having such fun when I was drunk. Oh, I felt on top of the world! I felt confident, attractive, and I was a real show off with the ladies. The next day, I’d have a raging hangover and would be chatting excitedly with the people I was drunk with the night before; about the girl I had slept with, the volume of alcohol we had consumed, who was fighting with who. Oh, did we have a laugh!

    We were really cool guys in town; we were jack the lads, we had money, good jobs, all the latest gadgets, nice cars, and we knew what we liked spending our money on… Alcohol. We drank, beer wine and vodka, maybe gin, maybe anything! I was always the party animal; always the last person to leave, always drinking more and more till eventually I either blacked out, or fell over on my way home.

    How we laughed the next day; oh, it was so funny: “Hey alan, I can’t believe you fell over in the road, that was so funny!” And funny it was; we all laughed about the exploits of the night before, until it was time to head home, to suffer the hangover alone.

    You see, with every excess, there is a cost, and alcohol is no exception. It dehydrates the body, makes you feel shaky, disrupts your sleep patterns, makes you feel uneasy, sick, tired, and depressed. You feel just terrible! You swear “I’ll never drink again.” Until the next day, when the hangover’s gone, and you conveniently forget the pain of the day before, and head down for a “quick pint” after work. After all,“I’ve had a hard day, I deserve it.”

Before we move forward, many of you will be disagreeing, and saying that drinking to excess is generally prevalent in youth culture; that people eventually grow out of it and drink more moderately. But in some cultures people never drink, and in other cultures, such as the ancient aboriginal people of australia (who had never been exposed to alcohol in their entire history until the english introduced it some 200 years ago) it is now proving to be a great social problem. Whatever the for’s and against’s are of alcohol, I would like to ask you some simple questions which I would like you to consider:

  • Why do we like alcohol so much?
  • What is it about alcohol that makes us want to spend our hard earned money on it?
  • What, given the long list of adverse effects could possibly be our reason for consuming it?
  • How would you deal with stress at work if alcohol had never been invented?
  • How do people, who don’t drink, “celebrate” or deal with stress and problems?
  • If it tastes so good, why do children generally dislike it?

In my mind, alcohol is the great reality concealer. It conceals stress, pain, shyness, anger, hurt, disappointment, and fear amongst others; all of which are normal humanemotions; all of which can be expressed correctly, through talking to someone, writing a journal, or evaluating your life yourself. Alcohol isn’t about having fun.

We can have great fun when we’re not drinking…

Just look at a child and tell me he needs to have a drink to have fun.

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