How often have we heard the assumption as to why normally generous, kind, intelligent men, and women too, do strange, hurtful things to themselves and others, as being “because he was drinking.”
We sympathize. Sometimes we even apologize, when the perpetrator happens to be a loved one. If the infraction is fairly minor, we laugh and tell stories about how he has yet again survived to drink another drink. We lie because we love him. We know him sober and he is normally a good guy when he (or she) is not drinking.
There is truth in those excuses. Our brains are made up of chemicals which constantly interact to create our emotions, thoughts and physical reactions. When alcohol enters the bloodstream it is a pleasurable experience for most mammals (I’ve heard of dogs and chickens becoming inebriated). That includes humans. People love to get together and “The Bottle” adds to the occasion. For short periods of time, and not too often.
For constant party-goers it takes more and more of that pleasurable ingredient to get half as high. They are hooked. Their brains and nervous system require alcohol to function in an everyday fashion. Some are able to abstain during the week. But they can hardly wait til Friday or Saturday evening when they don’t have to work the next day.
The craving for alcohol can turn a kind and generous person into a manipulative, scheming monster. Some of my favorite people are ex-alcoholics. They wear their guilt on their sleeves and are quite honest in their refections. One fellow told of how he would deliberately pick an argument with his wife so he’d have an excuse to leave home and go to the bar. Another ex-alcoholic told of a trick he and other alcoholics had to assuage their sense of self worth.
“To make ourselves feel better, we would buy a round or two for the next guy. That way, when he got drunk, we could feel better about ourselves cause he was drunker than we were.” he said.
Alcohol still causes more harm than any other drug in our society. It is also the most available.
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