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Why Is Alcohol Socially Acceptable?

Updated on February 19, 2013
Alcoholism
Alcoholism | Source

The truth about drinking alcohol

For more then 30 years we have witnessed a war on drugs. Recently we have seen a campaign targeting cigarette smokers. These so called wars are intended to reduce the risk that cigarettes and illegal drugs have on society but what about the risk associated with alcohol abuse? Why haven't we seen any commercials featuring those who are dying from liver failure? Possible because alcohol use is socially acceptable. Alcohol has become so socially acceptable that most of us are unaware of how harmful it can be to our health.

If you are like me, you always knew that there were risk associated with drinking alcohol but you never thought that they would affect you. To you, alcohol only had serious consequences when consumed over long periods of time and in large amounts. It effected people who didn't know there limit or those who suffered from extreme alcoholism. However, you believed that alcohol had no effect on the average everyday guy. You know, the ones who only drank socially or those who only had a few drinks on the weekend. If that is what you believed you are partially right, people who drink in moderation do not suffer from the extreme consequences of alcohol use, most of the time. Nonetheless, alcohol can have some damaging effects on even the moderate drinker. In fact, alcohol is directly of indirectly responsible for over 100,000 deaths in the U.S alone each year. This number raises the question, if alcohol is responsible for such a high amount of deaths, why is it so socially acceptable?

Why is Alcohol Socially Acceptable?

Perhaps the most obvious answer to the question, why is alcohol socially acceptable? Is, because it is legal but did you know that it was not always that way. If you have followed shows such as, HBO's Boardwalk Empire you know that there was a time when alcohol was indeed illegal. It was during the 1920s and the law was called prohibition. However, prohibition laws did little to stop alcohol abuse subsequently, the law was abolished. This is interesting since other drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and heroin are all illegal substances and yet people continue to abuse them. However, no one seems to be in a hurry to end the laws against them. So why is a drug just as potent and deadly, still legal? You could speculate and say that its because the government is getting rich off of this countries alcoholics or one might suggest that its because the powers that be also enjoys daily alcohol consumption. We may never know nevertheless, alcohol being a legal beverage could be a contributing factor to why it is socially acceptable. This is one of the reasons why alcohol is acceptable however, there are other factors, as well.

Another possible answer is, that alcohol can be found almost anywhere. For instance, turn down almost any street corner in New York City and you are sure to find a liquor store.In addition, you can easily find an alcoholic beverage by visiting our many bars and restaurants throughout the city. Unlike other drugs, you don't need to find a drug dealer and risk being arrested or killed. You don't even need to get your doctor to write a prescription. You simply have to take a short walk or drive to locate the nearest booze dealer. So, this could be a factor on why alcohol is socially acceptable. Maybe the depressing times could also play a role.

We are living in depressing times with high unemployment rates, high divorse rates, homes in foreclosure, single parents, and rich celebrities constantly being thrown in our faces. Maybe, the only way that many of us can find an inch of joy is by turning to the bottle.This idea isn't so far fetched when you consider that liquor stores are one of the only businesses that seems to thrive during the recession. Are we as a society so depressed that we cannot cope unless we are under the influence? Could this explain why alcohol has become socially acceptable? Perhaps, we accept it because it helps us to cope with difficult situations. This could be a possible explanation however, the following might be a better one.

Celebrating With a Glass of Wine
Celebrating With a Glass of Wine | Source

Media & Societies Role In Alcoholism

Look at this picture, when you look at it what do you see? Chances are you see, a night out with friends, having a great time, joking, playing cards, and unwinding. That's what most of us think of when we think of drinking alcohol. We see fun because that is what most of the images of drinking shows us. Alcohol use is romanticised in images, popularized on television and advertised all over the world. In fact, you almost feel inadequate if you are a non-drinker. What you don't see is, how many people wake up in strange places after a night of drinking or the people who didn't wake up at all because of alcohol poisoning. You certainly do not see the people who are desperately waiting for a liver transplant or those who have lost their entire families because of alcohol abuse. You may not see these images but they are no doubt, real. Now look at the image below, could this paint a more accurate picture? Could alcohol be suicide in a bottle? Read the facts and you be the judge.

Pistol In Beer Glass
Pistol In Beer Glass | Source

Health Risk Associated With Alcohol Abuse

As stated earlier alcohol is directly of indirectly responsible for over 100,000 deaths each year in the U.S alone. This number includes those who have perished as a result of drunk driving, impaired decisions made under the influence and alcohol related health issues. Drinking to much at one time can have devastating effects on the human body. It can effect nearly every organ including, your heart, liver, pancreas and brain. Long term alcohol abuse can lead to cirrhosis of the liver. A disease that destroys your liver and can potentially be fatal. Alcohol abuse can also affect your brain function, making you feel confused and disoriented. It can also lead to diabetes, problems with you pancreas, and heart enlargement. These are the physical effects of alcohol use but alcohol can also have devastating effects on your social life, as well.

Alcohol use can result in a job lost, the lost of relationships and social isolation. It can also cause sleep problems, anxiety and depression. Weight gain is also associated with alcohol use. So the next time you fantasize about how much fun it is to drink, think again. Alcohol is a drug and it is just as deadly as the illegal substances. So now that you have heard the risk associated with drinking alcohol you may still be wondering what is the answer to the question. Why is alcohol so socially acceptable?

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Summary, Why Is Alcohol Socially Acceptable?

Truth is, there isn't just one answer but one thing is for sure, alcohol fills up casinos, bars, hotels and restaurants all over the world. So maybe the simplest answer to this question is? There is way to much money in the business of alcohol therefore, it is unlikely to ever be illegal again. If the drug remains legal and easy to access, chances are it will continue to be socially acceptable. With that said, we cannot place all the blame on liquor stores, restaurants, bar owners or the government, for that matter. We also have a responsibility as adults to control our own alcohol consumption. Also, remember for some of us there is just no such thing as drinking in moderation. If you are one of those people, then it is best for you to just avoid alcohol all together.

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    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 4 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Hi there, welcome to Hubpages! this was an interesting read, voted up, useful and interesting! I hope you will be happy here with our community, and I hope to see you around. Have a good day