What is misuse of alcohol?
Any level of alcohol consumption that causes damage in any aspect of life.
It is extraordinary that alcohol, a major damaging drug, has such a significant place in our society. Every headache or hangover that results from alcohol consumption is evidence of the brain being damaged. Functional PET scans of the brains of alcoholics show very alarming distortions. Yet alcohol is seen as fundamental to comfort and celebration. These scans should encourage us to be fearful of alcohol and envious of the normal scans of minimal drinkers.
Our problem originates in the belief that we should be happy all the time and that we need something external to ‘fix’ us if we are not.
The natural use of alcohol is as a tasty drink. Alcoholics would never contemplate such a ridiculous definition. Or they might pretend they do while disguising the fact that they would drink rot-gut if that was the only alcohol available.
Misuse of alcohol is anything that makes it into a medicine, something used as a tranquiler, antidepressant or sleeping tablet. Ideally those pharmaceutical drugs should also be avoided. There are more successful, and less damaging, ways of altering the mood – creative work, exercise, entertainment, sexual activity – than through the enticements of Big Pharma.