Alcohol is an addictive drug – the most harmful and dangerous in society. There is no such disease as the incurable disease of alcoholism. There is however alcohol addiction. Addiction is not a disease; addiction belongs to a category of its own.
Almost from the day we were born, we have been bombarded with alcohol advertising, propaganda* and brainwashing. A recent study in the USA calculated that before reaching the age of eighteen a typical American will have been exposed to more than 100,000 instances of alcohol promotion: through adverts, product-placement, billboards, cinema, streaming services, magazines, news services, TV, clothing, bar-furniture, social media, etc. The objective is the planting of parasitic ideas* which associate drinking with sex, friendship, power, fashion, being cool, success, sports, using strategies originally developed by the tobacco industry. Added to this is the production of unscientific “scientific studies”, the influencing and/or corruption of politicians and public institutions. The essence of this is to sell the lie that alcohol is safe except for those “defective” people with a “shameful” disease called alcoholism (something that we were supposedly born with and for which there is no cure – only a weird permanent state called recovery). There is no unequivocal proof that addiction is a disease. What this widely-promoted but false disease definition does is to allow the alcohol industry to wash its hands of responsibility for the horrific damage it causes. A scientific study in the UK (David Nutt et al 2010) of the 20 most common recreational drugs (which included, heroin, crack cocaine, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana) demonstrated unequivocally that alcohol is a highly addictive drug, by far the most damaging drug in our society.
Since most people start drinking in adolescence when the brain is still forming and social insecurity is at its highest, most of us fall into the trap of confusing being drunk (drugged with alcohol) with happiness. Being drunk and being happy are not the same; they are two radically different states. That is to say, we live in a society in which the majority of adults have no experience of being an adult without alcohol present in the bodies.
This is part of the other big lie that happiness is “out there”. This is the very foundation of the consumerist society. If you are feeling unhappy, uncomfortable or your life lacks meaning, then the answer is “take something”: a glass of something, beer, wine, a joint, a line of coke. Alternatively, “buy something” (too often something that you don’t need with money you don’t have). These beliefs keep us forever on the hamster-wheel of desire, always hungry, never satisfied. By ingesting a mind-altering substance or buying something, we create a distraction, a sort of anaesthetising effect which does nothing to treat the cause; it just temporarily relieves the symptoms of our pain and suffering.
By happiness, I mean peace in our hearts, connection, equanimity, a sense of overall wellbeing, of interior space that can easily contain our suffering, pain. It is always there inside of us; we just need to get out of our own way to connect with what is already there.
After more than twenty years of not drinking, I can say that there is not a single situation in my life that would be improved by the addition of alcohol.
It’s time to wake up and be the guionista of your own life.
Alcohol – don’t need it, don’t want it, don’t miss it.
Parasitic ideas*: A parasitic idea is a harmful idea, belief or perception, usually purposely manipulated and capable of making you act against your own interests. It can be transmitted (usually through propaganda) and between people, usually through language.
Propaganda*: Propaganda is the use of carefully selected and manipulated information, ideas or rumours deliberately spread. It is used in all classes of media to promote a usually false narrative favourable to the propagandist (the pusher) in order to increase profits irrespective of the damage it will cause to others, to society or the planet. It is usually fuelled by greed for money and/or power. Classic examples of this are to be found in the behaviour of tobacco industry, alcohol industry, food industry, pharmaceutical industry, fossil-fuel industry and political parties. Propagandists (pushers) provide either factual or non-factual information, a carefully crafted mixture of lies and half-truths, to society, over-emphasizing positive features (ideas which support their objectives) and downplaying negative ones, or vice versa, in order to shape wide-scale public opinion and influence behavioural changes. Propaganda talks to ego and is designed to create an emotional response (often negative fear, envy, hate, greed,) which subverts our capacity for rational analysis.