Yesterday I watched a documentary called Drinking Yourself to Death and it really had me thinking and pondering. It was made in the UK in 2015 and the statistics were all UK. I have to believe things are very similar in the USA. Actually, things seem to have gotten worse these last few years.
In the documentary, they say that incidents of severe liver disease are on the rise and within a younger population. It used to be that most liver patients were in their 60s, now they are seeing people much younger. They think the reason for that is that alcohol is much more accessible than in years past. It is easier to get and sales promotions can make it very cheap.
As I went grocery shopping I got to thinking about that. It is much easier to get alcohol in the USA than it was in the 1960s and 1970s. Back then, you didn’t see alcohol being sold at grocery stores beyond maybe a few brands of beer that had a relatively low alcohol content. Hard liquor had to be purchased at special stores and you couldn’t buy it outside of certain hours. Any adult could go and get it but it was a separate stop requiring a tad more thought and effort. Wine, again, a few types of wine were available but if you really wanted good wine you had to go to a specialty store for that. My parents drank – later on my mother alcoholically- but back then, I remember growing up knowing that wine was very special. You only had that on special occasions. I am guessing it was expensive.
I took some photos at the grocery store yesterday. You will see countless types of beer available. Craft beers have become in vogue and their alcohol content is notably higher than the beers of the past. Look at that fancy wine department. Oh, and the $10.00 discount on the wine. Sheesh!
Now buying wine or beer is almost like buying soda pop. Just throw it in your shopping cart with everything else. I am not one for a lot of government regulations. In fact, I hate them. I think people should make their own informed decisions. I think it is government regulation that has kind of screwed up how we Americans think – though we don’t always realize it. I saw a similar phenomenon at the Grand Canyon – I will get back to that.
We have the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and we have other governing bodies that write rules and laws to try to protect us from ourselves and try to enforce them. I think the USA has so much of that, we tend to have this “Disney World” mentality. If it is allowed or available, it is safe. If I am allowed to do this, something will protect me.
Buyer Beware is the reality. In the USA, we aren’t conditioned to operate that way. We tend to shop, drive cars and go about our business feeling a false sense of security. If something is available to us it is safe for us. Even though, logically, if we thought about it, we would see it differently.
We are so used to powerful drugs being illegal or only available to us through a prescription, that we don’t give alcohol the same care and respect it requires. Sure, the message against drinking and driving is out there. Messages about the health risks of drinking too much are not. Just the other day, I was following a bus and noticed it was called the DD bus – Designated Driver. My experience and observation of the use of those busses is so that people can go to wineries or events and get hammered without worrying about the drive home. At least they aren’t endangering others.
I think the message about the damage overuse of alcohol does to our bodies needs to get out.
The Disney World Mentality? When I was at the Grand Canyon, I saw people doing very dangerous things. Going off the path and climbing out on rocks and standing right on the edge, one guy held his wiggly baby standing on the rail overlooking the edge, one teenager walking on the little curb along the edge like a balance beam. That made for a funny picture. Hahaha. How funny would that have been if he actually lost his balance and fell the wrong way?
People had a false sense of security. Because these areas were accessible, they felt free to get close and do some very dangerous things. If it wasn’t safe, wouldn’t the park service blockade all of that? What a beautiful sight the Grand Canyon would be if it had a giant rail around it! These folks just weren’t thinking. They just are so used to places like Disney World that create replicas of dangerous things but guarantee safety. We tend to think rules and regulations if followed guarantee our safety. Not true! We have become like cattle!
I actually bought a book at a gift shop called “Death on the Canyon”. It is a very thick book mostly about people dying because they did stupid things.
Alcohol is no different. Just because we can toss it in a cart and buy it, doesn’t make it safe. Then you heap on top of the easy availability and the Disney mindset the social pressure to drink, we have a perfect storm for a very sick population.
I don’t want to outlaw alcohol, I just wish the information about the dangers were better known.
If you’re drinking too much too often Rethink the Drink.
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This post was written by Beth, a member of the BOOM Community. You can find more of her posts HERE