I like this article, but reading it won’t make me drink any less, and, as many of the commenters here have noted, the majority of people don’t drink under the guise that it’s good for them. With drinking as an addiction as an exception, many people, myself included, will still drink with all these health risks and damages because they perceive the benefits to outweigh the costs. Any sort of drug use is going to be risky.
I don’t smoke weed not because I think it’s bad for me, but because for me, it’s a waste of time. I get high, pass out for 12 hours, and wake up the next day feeling like an idiot. I just don’t enjoy it and feel like someone else can use the weed far better than I can.
With drinking, who knows how many of my friendships and relationships would have deepened had I not had a couple drinks to have that difficult conversations. Or I’m not sure how terrible the experience at a party or bar would have been had I been sober. There are simply extremely vulnerable experiences and conversations where, yes, alcohol was involved, that I didn’t have the maturity or courage to do sober . The camaraderie I’ve built with lifelong friends is the same: it would have still been there, but the occasional happy hour brought us closer— so yes, it’s bad for your physical health, but ask people who do drink why they still do to see how, in a lot of people’s minds, the benefits outweigh the risks.
There’s a scene in “The Wire” when a homeless bet storms into the Baltimore Sun newsroom and confronts the editors about wrong facts in a story about him.
They ask him if he’s been drinking, and he says “you think I sleep under a bridge sober?”
That scene stays with me whenever the thought of “maybe I shouldn’t give money to a homeless person because they might spend it on drugs or alcohol” comes. It’s a bandaid quick fix solution to someone’s problems to drink, but what if the quick fix is the best you have? There’s no broad, sweeping solution to your relationship or family problems, just like there’s no broad sweeping solution to the homelessness crisis.
And no one is an alcoholic because they just love drinking — what’s behind their need to drink? Why aren’t we asking that question more?