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Alcohol is…An Alcohol Awareness Month Public Service Announcement
ALCOHOL IS A DRUG
Alcohol is not a wonderful magic potion. It’s just a drug. I would love to get the word out; to undo the misinformation and the manipulation by alcohol advertising which creates false expectations of how “good” alcohol will make you feel and how it’s “just what you need”, because “you worked hard for it”, because “you deserve it”.
We only need to plant the seed; to get the word out that it’s ok not to drink. It’s perfectly acceptable to say, “Nope, not today, thank you.” It’s okay to want to stop drinking, especially if the drink is taking you.
It’s O.K. not to Drink
I wish I could make it safe, easy, and socially acceptable for anyone to quit alcohol; to tell others, “I don’t drink,” and to tell them why, without sounding crazy or weak; without being labeled.
The world needs to be educated; to see that alcohol is a dangerous drug, like opioids, methamphetamines, Benzodiazepines, and others, but without the strict controls. In the U.S., Lobbying to get alcohol listed as a controlled substance has had very little success.
The bottom line is, Alcohol is still a dangerous drug. It may be harder to overdose on alcohol but it’s not impossible. It happens all the time and people are dying in large numbers every day from alcohol use.
Unfortunately, many “regular” drinkers either don’t know or don’t understand the reasons, or the process of quitting alcohol. There are lots of misperceptions and judgments made toward those who have chosen to quit drinking which is easy to do if you don’t really understand.
Some of these judgments are from those who appear to be handling their alcohol intake, or believe they are handling it, toward those who have chosen to quit drinking. They include:
• She had to quit because she’s weak.
• He can’t handle his alcohol.
• He is having problems with alcohol because of his bad choices.
• She only needs to drink less.
Of course, we all need to take responsibility for our own drinking, otherwise we cannot quit, but that isn’t to say we are bad people, nor are we weak. I prefer to call excessive and uncontrolled drinking at any level, “substance use disorder.” It is caused by the body defending itself from the effects of alcohol. The body builds a tolerance to the drug and users then increase the amounts to reach the high they are used to. Hence, it becomes a need for the substance just to feel “normal” though we know it’s not really normal. For the most part, it’s just less painful.
Too many “regular” drinkers don’t understand just how deadly and destructive alcohol is. Perhaps if it was better known just how many deaths are due to alcohol it would make a difference. I don’t believe it’s well known just how damaging alcohol is for our health, nor how truly addictive it is and what a battle it can be to finally quit. According to the World Health Organization, it is estimated that alcohol kills three million people throughout the world every year.
Three million deaths.
That number is so high that it’s difficult to really wrap my brain around it.
To get some perspective, the City of Chicago, Illinois in the US, has a population of 2.74 million. That is less than the number of human lives lost each year due directly to alcohol use.
Three million human lives lost. Enough to fill the City of Chicago.
Those of us who have struggled, or still are struggling through the first months of quitting alcohol, are strong, dedicated, amazing humans, who value the life given to us. Unfortunately, there are still many out there at various levels of alcohol abuse that need the help to get motivated to get started on an AF journey.
I know firsthand how powerful it is just to plant a seed.
If someone needs help but won’t listen, plant a seed in their minds. It could be a comment. Such as,
“I used to drink too much. I was finally able to quit.”
“I used to drink every day. When I decided to quit, ABCD really helped.”
“I know a lot of people who were able to quit through EFGH”.
Obviously, some are going to ask questions. I sure did a lot of question asking.
I didn’t want to let on to anyone, even myself, that I had a problem, but I was very interested in when, why, and how others stopped drinking. Eventually, I heard enough and decided I needed to go get help quitting. It was one of the best decisions of my life. I have my life back. After 17 months alcohol-free, I feel truly just that, FREE. No more drinks taking me. I’m Captain of this ship now.
Quitting drinking alcohol is not easy. Especially in a world that accepts it as a beautiful thing; something to be used for celebration; to make life better; to brighten up our lives a little at the end of the day. But alcohol doesn’t work that way really, which we know. It’s why we are here. Because we know that and are tired of it. We are strong enough to work toward a life without alcohol.
We can plant a seed in others minds that there is hope for them and its ok to want help and to ask for it.
The world needs to understand that quitting alcohol doesn’t mean you are weak. It means you are strong.
More by this author:
What Does it Really Take to Quit Drinking?
Sobriety? It’s not Magic it Just Feels Like it Sometimes
10 Tools to Help You Break the Alcohol Habit
How to Avoid Relapse in Sobriety – You Don’t Have to Slip
If you’re “sober curious” … If you are drinking too much too often and want to stop or take a break…or if you have stopped drinking and are trying to stick to sober! Talk to Us.
We are an independent, anonymous and private community who share resources, support and talk it through every day. It helps to have a community behind you in a world where alcohol is the only addictive drug that people will question you for NOT using