The answer is yes, alcohol is a drug.
I was furious when my 11 year old told me this. “What are they teaching you in school?” I asked. I always defended alcohol. Everyone around me drank and therefore I never thought of it as a drug, it was alcohol. In my mind it was in its own category and never to be confused as a drug.
According to Wikipedia, A drug is any chemical substance that causes a change in an organism’s physiology or psychology when consumed. Drugs are typically distinguished from food and substances that provide nutritional support.
Why is it socially acceptable?
Alcohol was very present in my life growing up. As a matter of fact, it was normal to see all the adults in my life drink alcohol. Alcohol was glorified and as a result it was at every birthday party, wedding, and holiday celebration. At which, everyone seemed so much happier and loose. I was exposed as well through movies, T.V. shows, and music. It is a right of passage into adulthood seeing that 21st birthday’s are a reason to get heavily intoxicated.
Have a drink, you’ve been working so hard.
Have a drink, it will make you more sociable and confident.
Have a drink, it will help you let your guard down and be bold.
Have a drink, it will help you be more sexy and seductive.
Have a drink, it will wash away your sorrows and fears.
Have a drink, the result will help you “forget about life for a while”, according to Billy Joel.
Here is what society doesn’t like to talk about.
- It ruins marriages.
- It tears families apart.
- It increases anxiety (Read my blog post Which came first, Anxiety or Alcohol)
- It increases your chances of getting cancer.
- It causes damage to the brain.
- It causes damage to the liver and your heart.
- It causes digestion problems.
- It ruins your sleep.
- It ages your skin.
- It causes depression.
- It enhances mental illness.
Alcohol had a grip on me
When I was drinking I believed alcohol enhanced my life. I stayed out of trouble while indulging. I did the majority of my drinking at home where I felt safe. I would take days off from drinking. If I were addicted to this so-called “drug”, I would be homeless, and a non-functioning human being. I would see others who drank more than me and use that to justify my drinking habits. My idea of rock bottom was so low, that I knew I would never get there.
Alcohol had me addicted
It became the reward for getting through a bad day, and soon everyday was a bad day. It was present at celebrations until everything was a reason to celebrate. I looked forward to the next time I would be able to have a drink. I found ways to include it in activities to make them more “fun.” It was the glue that bonded me with friends and family. I couldn’t handle emotions without it. And soon, I didn’t like the thought of never drinking again. It became a part of my identity. I felt anxious without it. It took over my life until the only thing that made me feel better was another drink. That’s an addiction. That’s a drug. That’s alcohol.
Yours Truly Sober,