The other day I came across yet another media piece that wanted to examine the plight of the alcoholic, this time from the perspective of their children and other family members. And once again I was appalled by the fixation on the alcoholic rather than the drunks who outnumber alcoholics thousands to one, and who are the real problem drinkers.
The alcoholic is compelled to seek alcohol-induced oblivion any way they can, be it store-bought booze, or the gut-rotting alcohol extracted from household products. But drunks simply drink too much because they believe themselves to be “party animals” and love to show off how much of the stuff they can guzzle, siphon, or otherwise inhale, in the shortest amount of time, as a kind of machismo boasting.
The drunk operates on the premise that excess is the norm, and therefore does everything to excess, including being boorish, sexist, obnoxious and – in their own minds at least – a laugh a minute. The alcoholic does not normally drive drunk, tending to stay in one place, often by themselves, wanting nothing more than to be embraced by that sweet oblivion. It is the drunk that jumps in a vehicle intent on showing everyone that they are fine to drive whether they are capable or not - mostly not. It is the drunks that brawl in the streets, puke on your car, carpet, or lawn, urinate anywhere they please, and whose loud, braying laughter wakes up the neighbourhood every weekend.
Isn’t it time that we stopped vilifying the alcoholics and started focusing on the real problem drinkers, namely the legions of drunks we see pouring out of the bars and nightclubs every day and night of the year? And why is that almost every human social gathering has to include the consumption of alcohol, while bars and pubs are on practically every downtown street corner jostling with restaurants for liquor licences?
No wonder teens gravitate to the stuff so easily – often with tragic consequences – when its consumption, excessive or not, is so much a part of our socialising. And why is it that there is so much media emphasis on warning about the dangers of drugs when alcohol is the most common drug used and abused by us with no mention of the fact that alcohol is a poison and that drinking too much too fast results in alcohol poisoning and often death, while excessive boozing rots out your stomach, destroys your liver and kills far more people than all the illicit drugs combined? Not to mention just how boring drunks are to those who do not imbibe.
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