Considering the relationship between Culture & Alcohol
There are many drugs that people can abuse. Many of these drugs are illegal, meaning that they are hard to get and usually expensive, but there are also legal drugs. If one considers the most popular legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco will probably be at the top. Alcohol, in particular, is a drug associated with many different issues. Alcohol contributes to car accidents, incidents of violence, accidents, fights, and is, in general, a drug that is frequently abused. It is also a drug that is freely available and sold to any adult, as well as cheaply available. So, should alcohol be banned?
It is important to consider that alcoholic beverages are an important part of most cultures. People see alcohol as something that is very normal. Culturally, alcohol plays a significant role. It is a part of daily meals, parties, and social gatherings. It is also a frequent topic of conversation. For many people, wines or beer are their main hobby and for many others, they are a source of income or work. Most people drink, in one way or another, and view alcohol as a central aspect of entertainment or enjoyment, and as a necessary element for social gatherings.
Attempts have been made to ban alcohol before, however, they have never been particularly successful. Rather than eliminating consumption, they led to the creation of underground networks and people making their own alcohol. All this shows that banning alcohol is not effective, but is it right that alcohol should be treated the same as it is now?
In many situations, the culture and society promote alcohol dependence or, at least, alcohol use. In many social environments, it is expected that the person will drink. Getting drunk is often seen as a rite of passage or as a funny experience that everyone should have. Not drinking is something people need to justify and might face pushback, especially in some environments. Even work events or formal social situations often feature wine and not drinking it in those contexts might be seen negatively. Young people can especially buy into the drinking culture and feel that to be fun or enjoyable an event needs to have alcohol. This culture associated with alcohol that views it as a necessary part of social interaction can be quite harmful.
Who does this harm? It harms young people who might develop bad drinking habits and might make poor decisions due to the influence of alcohol. It can harm people who have a predisposition for developing an addiction because it makes it more likely they will try alcohol and creates a context where this is encouraged, at least, initially. It can harm people in recovery or those with a distaste or allergies to alcohol. It also creates a culture that can promote substance problems because people cannot see themselves having fun or being social without alcohol.
It is worth noting that moderate consumption of alcohol is not, by itself, harmful. It can be enjoyable and many people find that trying different types of wine or beer is fun for them and complements their life. However, the overall culture that exists around alcohol and that becomes more prominent in certain settings, like groups of young people, can be harmful because of its emphasis on alcohol.
So, rather than a ban on alcohol, it may be important to modify the culture concerning alcohol. This is associated with the view of drinking as cool and fun behavior, a view that is supported by the media. Instead, moderate consumption should be encouraged, as well as more awareness concerning the negative effects of alcohol. Alcohol should be seen as something that can complement a party or a gathering but should not be the center of it unless it is a wine-tasting event.
The cultural shift concerning alcohol is likely to take a while. However, the cultural shift might change the problems with alcohol consumption. People can become addicted to many things. Illegal drugs are not, for example, usually supported socially or shared or viewed in a positive manner like alcohol. However, the culture around alcohol may hurt many people and encourage excessive drinking among many different people.
Overall, alcohol is not only legal but an important part of culture for many people. This culture has its upsides and its downsides because it promotes drinking as normative behavior. Of course, this can vary depending on an individual’s social circle or their subculture but people who do not drink are less common than those who do, which is often seen as the default. This can be a factor that may contribute to substance abuse problems in some people but the only possible way to address it is through a cultural shift.
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Feel free to read our previous blog about being happy and drug free.