Once in a while, we all like to indulge ourselves and have some extra fun with friends over drinks. After all, nothing makes the party flow better than splitting a couple of bottles of wine with a good dinner, right?
Or maybe you are the type of person who likes nursing a couple of beers after work to unwind from all the office stress? If you are a foodie, you probably have used some alcohol in your attempts to recreate gourmet dishes from all over the globe.
Moreover, plenty of studies on the matter contribute results saying that moderate consumption of wine might be beneficial to our health. The Ancient Romans probably knew what they were doing. For more information about this, follow this link: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-wine
All in all, it seems like alcohol provides a lot of variety and excitement into our lives, both socially and health-wise. It even appears to be culturally crucial as almost every culture globally has a particular alcoholic drink that they came up with and is an essential part of their cuisine.
But that was not always the case. At the start of the 20th century, the United States introduced an amendment to their constitution that declared all production, import, and sale of alcohol illegal. This ban lasted for more than ten years.
The reasoning behind it was that certain members of society, primarily Protestants, believed that the widespread use of alcohol led to the dissolution of moral values. They pointed to increased family violence and health issues as a result of alcoholism, as well as increased organized crime and corruption caused by the trade of alcohol. Read more about it here.
The real danger of substance abuse
Although their approach might seem extreme, it is not without reason. Indeed, a lot of research on the topic points to an increase in health problems and violent tendencies in individuals with alcoholism. Furthermore, unregulated consumption of alcohol can also endanger others via reckless behavior such as drunk driving.
Clearly, the issue of alcohol use is not a very black and white one. At times, what can be harmless and even beneficial for us can also become incredibly dangerous not only to us but also to the people around us.
However, that does not mean that we should go ahead and ban any consumption of it and stigmatize its use. That had the exact opposite effect during Prohibition. People started making their spirits with incredibly high alcohol content like moonshine. Illegal bars called speakeasies because of their secrecy began operating all across the nation. Contrary to the authorities’ intentions, the consumption did not stop but rather skyrocketed and became even more dangerous due to its illegality.
If there is a lesson to be found from the Prohibition’s failure, those who suffer from alcoholism do not need to be punished by law but rehabilitated with kindness. External restrictions will only ever force those with addictions to find other more unsafe means of obtaining alcohol, thus leading to increased crime rates that do not solve anything.
Instead, we should make sure to provide social and medical support to those struggling to beat their addiction. Encouraging people to try alcohol treatment should always be our priority when deciding how to deal with alcoholism.
Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. Understandably, many people hesitate to open up and share their secrets that they might feel ashamed about. On the other hand, others might not realize that they even have a problem, given how pervasive, excessive alcohol use is in our society.
All we can do is be there for the people who need help when they decide to ask for it and offer them options to overcome it. Additionally, nurturing a safe and understanding environment can prevent the stigma of addiction and potentially prevent many from staying silent about their struggles.
A brief conclusion
Finally, this goes beyond any individual action one person can take. We need to decide as a society to enact changes that will protect people with addictions and ensure that they will not be punished for their acts caused by their illness but rather helped heal from it.