Alcohol is legal, which I think is what sepparates it from many other substances. So if someone has an addiction to alcohol it's easier for them to get to it (you can buy it anywhere, people serve it at dinner parties, you can have unlimited amounts stashed at home and no one will do anything) and it's also a lot more common as we are all surrounded by it from early childhood.
I don't know exactly how to describe my point, so I will just say that it's (even more) difficult to convince someone/yourself that: they have an addiction, alcohol is harming them and they should ask for help, because they have no reason to actually admit that what they are doing is not acceptable within the family/society. Perhaps I generalized too much, but my uncle would definitely frequently ask such questions (why should i not drink if I am allowed to by law)
Have you read A million little pieces by James Frey? There was a controversy about this book, but I really liked it. (it's about both alcohol and hard drug addiction)
I think that the legality plays a role, but it's only one piece of the puzzle. In this country, we tried to make alcohol illegal. That wasn't because of some sort of hyper-morality as some like to think. Alcohol was a growing problem in this country throughout the 1800s. It resulted in tremendous problems for women and children in particular. Prohibition seemed to be an answer. It wasn't what was needed and finally it was repealed. I do think that out of that struggle, came a different perspective about alcohol and the regulation of alcohol sales etc. Modern medicine has really helped as well because in the 1800s most medicines were opiate and/or alcohol based.
I've heard this "alcohol is legal and I'm an adult blah blah blah" over and over again from addicted people. I have to work to keep a straight face and not roll my eyes when I hear it. It's so childish, but it's the addiction talking. Addicts will say or do anything to protect their addiction. Thinking errors abound. I try to remember that as annoying as lying is, the person an addict really lies to is himself.
Education and peer pressure are probably the most effective tools until pharmaceutical solutions are found and I'm convinced that short circuiting the addictive brain is the ultimate solution. Education and peer pressure have been very effective with curbing cigarette smoking in this country. Nicotine is an incredibly insidious drug that is difficult to kick, yet we've had a decrease in smoking here. I think even people who smoke don't like to go into areas with cigarette smoking. Of course there's no smoking by law in public places, but I wandered into a vietnamese coffee shop while waiting for a violin recital one day and everyone was smoking.
I thought -- omygod, this is how every place used to smell back in the day. It reminded me of how much things had progressed.
Honestly, I feel sorry for every family who has to deal with an addicted family member. It's not easy, and people who think you just turn your back on them, haven't really experienced the practical difficulties with that approach.
The James Frey book has some good things, but the problem is there are some patent falsehoods in the book and therefore it's hard to know what is true or not true. I think a better book is "Night of the Gun" Look into it. It's written by a journalist for the New York Times who decided to research his drug addicted past (and it was horrible) as he would a story for the newspaper. His research contradicted his memory in so many important ways. It also made him realize that events could not have transpired the way he remembered. Memory is not that great for most of us and it's much much worse in a drug addict. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/bo...anted=all&_r=0
But, you know -- even here in this small town, illegal drugs are very easy to get. Every drug addict (past or present) sees signs for drug sales just as clearly as the rest of us see signs for Burger King or Walmart.
Originally Posted by Time Violation
Yup, there is usually a huge social stigma connected with doing drugs. Very often none whatsoever when someone is drinking. On the contrary, often drinking is even encouraged - in Serbia for example, if you are not drinking, you're a weirdo, you don't know how to have fun etc.
Yeah. That's very hard to resist and particularly for young people. It gets easier to withstand peer pressure as we get older, but no one is immune. I suppose even I would knock back some shots if I were in Serbia.
Problem is that sometimes you don't even know you are susceptible to alcohol addiction until it's too late. I have talked to people who were addicted almost from the first drink. It's so hard for me to imagine what it was that they found in alcohol. One lawyer who nearly lost his profession through drinking, told me that he had his first drink at age 16 and from that time on alcohol was the primary thing in his life. While for me, I had to learn how to drink and develop a taste for alcohol. This is what interests me. Why is one person like me and another person like this guy who was in love with this substance immediately?
I think it's easy for those of us who can easily imbibe or forgo imbibing to sneer at the addicted, but it's more difficult and complicated and obviously they are getting something out of this drug that I don't get. I don't get the same euphoria out of marijuana or opiates either. I'm fortunate. But what is it? That's what I want to know.