Sometimes you have to ask yourself, “What comes first? Is it the alcohol? Or is it the problems? Are the problems being caused by the alcohol? Or are the problems already there, and the alcohol is just being used as a means to an end?”
I got a comment that says, “I love your channel but I disagree on alcoholism being a disease. When someone’s driving down the road with your two little sons in the back and they have a cup in their hand, where they’re throwing up alcohol but need to drink it again, because they need it, I think that’s a disease. I think when somebody has to go to a store and steal a bottle of vanilla extract because it’s 70% alcohol behind their family’s back.. Oh, that’s a disease.” And she goes into several different examples here and ends up saying, “For God’s sake, this must be a disease. It can’t be just you’re hell bent on destroying yourself. And if you were… It’s a mental disease, what the f is up??”
You know, I understand this from an emotional point of view, you’re seeing very specific circumstances. You’re seeing something which I suppose emotionally hurtful to you to look at it. To look at somebody with kids in the back of the car and they’re drinking alcohol, then it’s a difficult thing to look at. I agree with you. But what we do is we attach our emotional fixed, on to what they’re doing in order to rationalize it to ourselves. And it’s an easy thing to do, it’s an easy thing for us to, an easy thing for doctors to do as well and for medics to to say, “Well, this person has got alcoholism.” Because that’s what fits the the scenario.
So sometimes you have to ask yourself, “What comes first? Is it the alcohol? Or is it the problems? Are the problems being caused by the alcohol? Or are the problems already there, and the alcohol is just being used as a means to an end?” And I think it’s mostly the second… Well, sometimes the first, obviously if you drink a lot over the years, any amount of alcohol, it’s all about opportunity costs in this life. When you spend your time or your money or your health doing something, when you pour poison into your body. There is an opportunity cost to that. The opportunity cost to your health is better health. The opportunity cost to your time is what you could be doing with the other time. And all of these things that you’re holding these people that the comment was talking about, you have to take in their their situations in context, in their personal context.
And this is the problem with the word ‘alcoholic’ or ‘heavy drinker’ or ‘dependent drinker.’ It’s a catch phrase that doesn’t solve anything, there is a lot underneath that phrase. And there’s a lot of sociological, cultural, and physiological elements that make up whether a person is having problems in their lives. And unfortunately, those kinds of problems are very difficult to deal with, or to solve to somebody. You walk into a doctor’s office, and you’ve got five minutes with him or her, and it’s easier for them to diagnose alcoholism rather than go through your life and to actually fix what needs to be fixed in order for you to lead a life where you don’t want to drink alcohol. That’s the way I see it.
For you to be looking at a person like that, is a natural instinct. I think it was a woman that the comment was talking about, where she had two children in the back of her car and she’s drinking in the front, then vomit and then drinking again. Like I say, it’s easy for you to sort of look at the alcohol and say, “Well, that’s what’s causing the problem.” Rather than saying, “Well, how many problems does a person have to have in their lives that natural maternal instinct that a woman will have, will be overwritten by the desire to disappear from her life to disappear from her problems?”
So like I say, I’m not saying that this person hasn’t caused her problems because of alcohol. You know, there is always that part of things. The more you drink, the less time you have to do the other good things in your life that you need to do, in order to have a good life. And the more you drink, the less physical health you’ve got, the less psychological health you’ve got, the less you are capable of dealing with dealing with any problems in life. So it’s like a vicious circle. And when your question is whether the alcohol comes first or the problems? To answer that, it’s always the alcohol. It’s always the alcohol that is part of the problem, it’s not ever part of the solution.
Unfortunately, for so many people, because they don’t have the education, they don’t have the skills, they don’t have the knowledge, they might be in such dire positions. They don’t have the help… the real help to see them through and to help them to move on and make better choices. And alcohol can seem to be the only solution there. It’s not meant to cover all the bases here, just to give you sort of a different perspective on the idea that and to automatically look at somebody like they’re an alcoholic.
There’s so many different people out there, so many different organizations, including governments and the drinks companies, the alcohol industry themselves, who are reliant on the term “alcoholic”, and everything that swims around that term to stay in fashion. Because if they don’t, there’s a lot of businesses and a lot of money going to be lost. So we have to start looking at the context of these people’s problems. Look at how these people got into the problems in the first place. Look at how you can fix different problems in people’s lives, and look at how you can give them the opportunities so that they can be happy in their day to day existence that they don’t want to escape.