Updated: Nov 9, 2020
Alcohol is a lie
One of the most prolific lies ever told is the lie told to us by the society of alcohol. From our earliest memories, alcohol has been a part of our lives. Whether it was thrust into our face through media, advertising, or friends and family, the society of alcohol has been priming us for consumption. For most of us, alcohol found its way into our bodies before it was even legal for us to consume. Nevertheless, by the time we actually "got" to drink alcohol, we had been looking forward to the "benefits" it promised for the better part of two decades. I, on the other hand, barely made it past the first decade of my life before falling into alcohol's grasp. For others, they may make it into their thirties before engaging in this culturally accepted practice of destroying our minds and bodies. Regardless of when we took the first steps onto the path toward alcohol addiction, once we did, we set ourselves up for a long and tumultuous journey. The reason this journey is so long is that we believed the lies told to us by the society of alcohol so implicitly we never thought to question them, until now.
As children, we are taught to trust the adults in our lives. In my time, we were even taught to trust the media more than we do today. We drank our juice, milk, or soda and watched our parents, aunts and uncles, family friends, and others drink alcohol. We listened as the trusted adults in our lives spread praise over this mysterious libation. We watched as our family and friends laughed, played, and acted like children themselves while consuming the illustrious liquid. We saw our mentors and idols drink and tout the benefits associated with drinking. Everywhere we looked, everything we heard, everything about life as an adult revolved around this thing in which we were not allowed to partake. We became enamored and intrigued, and we could not wait until we were old enough to finally "get" to drink alcohol. Why wouldn't we? Everyone and everything around us told us about the promises of alcohol. We learned how it allowed us to be more ourselves. We witnessed first hand how people have more fun while drinking. We picked up on the idea alcohol allowed us to have more courage. We understood when life got tough we could always lean on alcohol to make us feel better. We discovered our best friends were the people with whom we drank. Alcohol was the answer to all our problems.
It was all a lie
Did our trusted parents, family, and friends intentionally lie to us about the promises of alcohol? Of course not. They were only caught up in the lies themselves, and they did not know they were perpetuating one of the biggest lies ever spread and accepted by the human race. This is how alcohol survived for as long as it has. Even nicotine tried similar antics to sustain its longevity. People were told it relaxed them. They were told it helped them lose weight. They were told it was what they needed to look sophisticated. While nicotine is still actively deceiving a large percentage of people, it lost a lot of support due to obvious health deficits, but some people still believe nicotine's lies too. Alcohol on the other hand did something ingenious. Alcohol found a way to blame it's health deficits on the individual and took the blame off itself. If someone drank too much, it was because "they" had a "problem" with alcohol. Those individuals have been cast aside and looked down upon by those who "do not" have a "problem" with alcohol. Think about the level of deception involved with turning the blame of addiction away from one of the most scientifically proven addictive substances on earth and placing it on the person consuming it. Then, add on to that deception the fact that the person consuming has not only been told to drink their entire life, but they were actually pressured into doing so by those whom the person trusts and loves. It is truly a conundrum. Let's look at a few more lies associated with the society of alcohol.
Alcohol allows us to be ourselves
Okay, first of all, the only time we are truly ourselves is when we are fully present, aware, and willing to allow those around us to see the true us. The world we live in doesn't exactly invite the real us in with open arms, does it? We are told how we should act, think, look, and pretty much everything else most of us feel we are not able to live up to. It is no wonder we turn to alcohol as a way of escaping these unrealistic expectations forced upon us by our own society. But wait. Alcohol allows us to be ourselves. That's why we use it, right? Wrong. The only thing alcohol really offers our confidence and self-worth is the ability to hide from them. With all the unrealistic expectations set forth by the media, television, and movies, we are left feeling unworthy and not good enough. Alcohol masks those feelings and replaces them with falsities such as friendship, trust, and loyalty. We surround ourselves with other emotionally clouded people who are seeking to mask their own feelings of inadequacies. With these people, we create a small community we think we can trust to ensure we never have to engage with the truth. The truth we are hiding from is that we are not able to be ourselves because we do not like who we are. Here is a company town idea for you. We do not like who we are because society has told us not to. The same society sells us the poison to mask our feelings of inadequacies. We then spend the rest of our lives spreading and perpetuating the lies associated with the society of alcohol. It's time to burn down the company town.
Drinking is more fun
It's time to hit the dictionary again. Fun: noun; something that provides mirth or amusement. Right off the bat, I can promise you this lie is in fact a lie because alcohol does not provide anything. That would be like saying a hamburger provides happiness. No, it's a hamburger. The only thing it does is to provide your body with something to process. Alcohol is the same thing. It doesn't give you something, in fact, it actually takes more away than it provides. What does it take away? It takes away the ability to process what is happening around us. It takes away emotional and physical feelings. Why do you think we slur while drinking? It takes away our vision. It takes away our ability to make sound decisions. It takes away our ability to recognize right from wrong. What does alcohol actually provide us? The only thing I can honestly say alcohol provides for us is a hangover the next day.
Why the misguided interpretation then? We think we are having fun because our inhibitions drop and we act in ways not normally associated with our character or personality. The escape from reality feels fun, at the moment, but the next day always proves us wrong. The most fascinating aspect of the lies associated with alcohol is our ability to forget. We forget the vomiting, headaches, low energy, lack of sleep, and all but absent drive to live a fulfilling life. We forget and begin the cycle of self-abuse over again every single day never recognizing the absurdity in our actions. Alcohol is not fun. Alcohol is a punishment. What it is a punishment for is individually assigned and left for the individual to uncover.
Ten-foot tall and bulletproof
I don't think I have to spend too much time talking about the lie associated with one of the most infamous phrases known to our species, "Hold my beer and watch this." We have all done it and we have all suffered as a result. Some have even died due to this lie told by alcohol. The removal of inhibitions leaves an individual wide open and vulnerable. Our inhibitions exist to protect us. They help us decipher right from wrong. They help us discern and avoid danger. Our inhibitions are there for a reason and alcohol removes those inhibitions leaving us with a false sense of courage and indestructibility. Alcohol does not give us courage, it actually erases intellect and leaves us vulnerable.
I deserve a drink
This is one of my favorite lies told to us by the society of alcohol. It is actually quite ingenious if you think about it. What better way to promote a product than by telling people they deserve it. When we were growing up, we were told when we deserved things like praise, treats, allowance, or even simple necessities. The act of telling us we deserved something made that thing far more important in our lives than it actually was. Knowing we deserved something changed our perception of it and escalated our need for it. It doesn't matter what the thing is, as long as we believe we deserve it, we want more and more of it. I don't know when it started, but at some point, the world decided when we have a bad day, we deserve a drink. Read literature, watch television or movies, listen to music, and watch as your friends, family, heroes, and idols tout how much we deserve to have a drink. At any given time on any given day, we can hear someone proclaim their deserving of a drink.
What exactly do we deserve? The loss of our mental and physical faculties? The inability to hold an intelligent conversation? The inability to know right from wrong. The loss of sound judgment. Bad decisions? Broken relationships? Wrecked cars? Lost jobs? Abandoned dreams? Horrendous hangovers? I'm sorry, but I have done some questionable shit in my life but I don't think I "deserve" any of those punishments, and neither do you.
Community of Alcohol
This is a tough one because until you allow yourself to see it for yourself, you cannot truly hear how the community you have surrounded yourself with are not actually your people. While this may be a slight overgeneralization, there is a lot of truth in it. If we are honest with ourselves, we know we chose many of our friends because they were like-minded. In regard to alcohol, we do this because it makes us feel better about our drinking. We do not want to be constantly reminded by someone who does not drink, or who drinks very little, how they think we drink too much. We needed to be able to rely on "our people" in those difficult times when we felt "deserving" of a drink. In fact, we relied on "our" people to tell us as much.
Ask yourself this question, "Would you tell and encourage your best friend to drink poison?" If not, it is time to acknowledge anyone who tells you to do so is not your people. I am sorry if this sounds harsh, but I am not sorry if it causes you to question your relationships. I have done it, and I have walked away from some relationships too. It doesn't feel good, but it does feel good to recognize the growth we are making. The relationships awaiting us are the relationships we do deserve. We deserve to have people in our lives who support our growth, not our degradation. Who encourage us to set and achieve goals, not live a stagnant life. Who help make us better versions of ourselves, not versions of which we are embarrassed. Who lifts us up by means of encouragement, not tear us down by means of inebriation. We deserve to be surrounded by a community of people who know and accept us for who we are, not who society tells us to be.
We deserve Easy Sobriety.