Breaking the Myth: On Being an Alcohol Addict
Hi, name is Natalee. And I’m an alcohol addict. Kind of sounds funny when you say it that way, doesn’t it?
Yes, I use the term alcoholic to describe myself, as well. But I don’t really think the term does the condition justice. After all, how am I different from a heroin, cocaine, or meth addict? I’m not. And in some ways, I’m worse.
If I said I was a wine addict, doesn’t that sound a lot cuter than being a heroin addict? Again, it’s really not.
I’m addicted to something that is legal. Something that is heavily advertised. The irony is that the two substances which kills the most people in the U.S. are alcohol and tobacco, and they are both available at your friendly neighborhood convenience store. Not on the street, not in head shops – just…anywhere, really.
You see, alcohol addiction is no different than any other addiction – it’s just less stigmatized. And that’s saying something, because there is a huge stigma that goes along with being an alcoholic.
Like opiates and other drugs, alcohol has a high propensity for addiction and dependency. That’s just the facts. If you partake, there is every chance you will get addicted. Yes, there are risk factors and other reasons why you may become an alcohol addict. But really, it’s because it’s so darn addictive.
Thinking of my youth, I wonder, where was the “Just Say No to Alcohol” campaign, just like the ones in the 1980’s, “Just Say No to Drugs”? Where was the “This is your brain on Alcohol!” marketing?
There was M.A.D.D., yes, which taught me not to drink at the prom and drive home afterward. It told me nothing about the real risks of becoming an alcohol addict. It just told me not to abuse it and get the behind the wheel. Okay, so I get that.
All I’m saying is, is that we’ve swept this problem under the rug for so many years while we’ve been fighting a losing battle against drugs. While anti-drug announcements are being aired, we are still being told to “Drink Responsibly” by liquor companies, and to go ahead and enjoy the fruits of being more social and attractive.
Alcoholism is just more visible for most people. You can see drunks at weddings, family gathering, etc. But generally speaking, you don’t see heroin addicts running around shooting up at Great Aunt Martha’s funeral reception.
For this reason, I think it is somewhat set apart from other addictions. Many people see the hypocrisy of legalizing alcohol while drugs are simultaneously illegal, but from the lawmaker’s perspective, it’s a non-issue.
Because right now, they are so busy worrying about the prescription painkiller and heroin epidemic, I doubt it’s even on the radar. But the real epidemic in the U.S. has been going on since prohibition was lifted.
I would just like the problem to be addressed at the government level, that’s all I want. That is, I’m not saying make alcohol illegal and bring even more substance users into the criminal justice system. I’m saying it’s the biggest substance abuse problem in the nation, and far as I know, no one at the top is talking harm reduction.
Let’s stop pretending that it’s okay to grab a bottle of wine after work and sip on it all night, as long as we’re not out injuring ourselves and others by drinking and driving, or engaging in domestic violence. It’s not. It’s a major public health issue. And it’s killing us in greater numbers than any other addiction out there.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology
Related: Worst Drug Threat in America
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction
“We Believe” Recovery is Possible for Everyone!
Please contact us today!
Oops! We could not locate your form.