Yesterday I had a random conversation with a friend of mine about drinking. And I had a question that always confused me about the whole thing. But before that let me tell you my views on drinking alcohol.
In short, I think it’s wrong. As a muslim it is against my religion. I remember learning it is the mother of all sins because a person who is drunk can easily commit other sins because they are not in their right mind. I think that makes perfect sense. I think if you have a little or if you have a lot it’s all wrong. I am really proud that my parents don’t drink and neither do my siblings. And I would have never married my husband if he drank regardless of how much or little that was.
Now I know a lot of muslims drink and to each his own and all that but it does really make me sad when I see them drink because in my belief it is a major sin and one of the worst things a person can do to themselves. I studied in London and could not forget the images of all the drunk girls on the weekends at the end of the night being sick on the side walk. All the young men in 3 piece suites staggering home alone reeking of champagne. I don’t get it. I will never get it really.
And yes I know not everyone who drinks gets drunk every night but just take a stroll on a friday night in any major city in the UK and what you see around you is shocking! If aliens were to land and see what goes on in the west end at midnight on a weekend they would think we were insane!
So, back to what confuses me about the whole drinking culture or alcoholic beverages in general. How is alcohol different than drugs? They are the same in every way so why is one illegal and the other a normal part of everyday life? Now if you drink you’re probably thinking “يعني بالغتي شوي” meaning that’s a bit of an exaggeration but hear me out.
A quick and very brief search on the internet showed me that I am not the only one asking this question. But I am honestly too tired to try and find all the relevant articles right now I’d rather just tell you what I think! And hear what you think.
Here are only some of the reasons drugs are illegal:
1) They are highly addictive. As far as I have seen in life and read in books and seen on the news alcohols is also highly addictive. As I understand it addiction is a disease and if you have it you will get addicted to what ever mind altering drug you are using be it alcohol, prescription medication or illicit drugs. No?
2) Drugs are bad for your health. Ummm. ok. So alcohol is not exactly harmless and without it’s own side effects. According to the Drink Aware website and the NIAAA website some of the effects of alcohol on the body are:
Obviously affects the basic human functions such as walking, talking, coordination.
Causes dehydration resulting in thumping headaches
It irritates the stomach causing nausea and stomach aches
Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
High blood pressure
Steatosis, or fatty liver
Oh, and some forms of cancer.
Yes I know these are all diseases that are a result of prolonged use of alcohol or alcohol abuse and I know having moderate amounts can be good for your health but would you want a medication with all those side effects to be readily available at any supermarket to anyone old enough to buy as much as they want to of it and without a warning label or directions as to how much to consume and how much is too much?
I know there are in some places government guidelines to drinking and awareness campaigns because it is becoming such an issue (Hence the UK based Drink Aware site) but I haven’t seen an addictive, mind altering, medicine with all those side effects so readily available anywhere.
3) The risk of overdose. Alcohol poisoning is what happens when someone over doses on Alcohol and you can read here what that means.
Now take a second to think of the effect of alcohol on other people not only the user. Here is an article titled “Alcohol related deaths kill more than AIDS, TB or Violence”. Read it it’s seriously shocking.
Now I am sure the answer to my question is long and takes into account social, economical and political issues. But in the end everything I have read so far suggests alcohol is by far the most harmful of drugs to others (drunk driving, aggression etc). It came in 4th after heroin, crack, and methamphetamine in ranking how harmful it is for the person using it. Cocain is less harmful! This is why it baffles me that it is socially acceptable and even expected of people to drink.
More and more there is a stigma attached to smoking. If cigarettes where only now invented they would have been banned everywhere in the world because of how harmful they are. The same can be said about alcohol in my opinion. There isn’t the same stigma attached to drinking although it is far more harmful to others and the user than Tobacco is.
So how do you rationalise not making alcohol an illegal drug or at least a highly regulated legal drug?
*I changed the post title from Cheers! You’re dead! To just Cheers! because I felt the first was just a tad melodramatic.