Our relationship with alcohol - is it really normal? Written by Brendan Mooney Psychologist
Alcohol has been around for a very long time and today is one of the most common substances ingested by people.
It is almost impossible to not come across alcohol any time you go out for dinner or to catch up with a friend in an entertainment area.
Alcohol causes more harm than all the other illicit drugs combined, in terms of its influence in domestic violence, fatal car accidents, suicide, murder and many other forms of abuse.
Most people are aware that alcohol is a scientifically proven poison to the human body, and yet we consume it willingly. What does this say about us as a species?
Alcohol detrimentally affects our liver, brain, kidneys, and nervous system, to name but a few of the areas of the body.
There are scientific studies by medical professionals that claim that alcohol is bad for your liver and brain, yet in other studies it is claimed that it is good for your heart.
Is it not odd that within medical science there can be two opposing streams of thought given we are talking about the same body? No human being lives with each organ of their body compartmentalized – our body is a cohesive unit. Therefore if one part of the body were to be detrimentally affected by alcohol the logic would follow that the whole body is compromised.
Which leads us to question if the scientists responsible for the ‘positive findings’ of alcohol consumption in relation to the heart could reproduce the same findings in relation to the liver, brain, kidneys and nervous system. For of what value is their finding regarding the heart if liver failure becomes an increased risk?
Hence at what point does science become irresponsible when it promotes findings that do not make sense to the greater whole?
And on a more personal note...
Why do we accept drinking poison (alcohol) as a normal part of human life? Is it not abnormal to poison oneself? Perhaps we ought to examine where our need for alcohol comes from, as in, what are we trying to avoid by drinking it?
In other words…
Do we address emotional issues as they happen, or find ways to distract or numb ourselves to avoid feeling them? For example, do you use alcohol or food to manage your emotional symptoms rather than truly deal with them?
What if we were to eradicate alcohol from the planet, other than for non-drinking purposes? How many issues and crises and dire circumstances would be prevented if we did? Of course, without alcohol we would need to address the underlying issues driving us to drink, but the world would be much healthier if we learned to live without needing to resort to a chemical to alter us in order to take the edge off life.
And hence there is understanding here, that is, perhaps we do need alcohol because as a society we struggle to deal with life’s stressors, pressures, disruptions, disturbances and our unresolved hurts. Most of us are attempting to do the best we can, although unfortunately this often involves managing our lives in unhealthy ways.
There is nothing wrong with drinking alcohol, and there ought never to be any judgment towards someone who does or doesn’t. The purpose of this article is not to say whether one should or shouldn’t drink, but rather to get honest about why we use alcohol so prevalently. In other words, perhaps it is about saying ‘I drink alcohol to take the edge off my stress’ rather than ‘I drink alcohol because I love it’.
This article is not based on any belief system or righteous viewpoint, but simply offers a sensible look at our relationship with a substance that is so embedded within our society that it seems we have forgotten to question whether this so-called normal part of human life is actually normal at all.
More will be written in an upcoming series of articles on this topic. If you would like to read more be sure to subscribe to receive email updates.
BIOGRAPHY Psychologist Brendan Mooney works with adults, adolescents and children. With a genuine interest in people's well-being, Brendan brings a warmth, practicality and an equality that supports clients to truly address underlying issues and blockages that are preventing them from moving forward.