About 2 billion people around the world consume alcoholic beverages. Out of these, 76 million have alcohol use disorders. In the Philippine setting, Filipinos are known to be the second highest consumers of alcohol in Southeast Asia, second to Indonesia. Almost half of our population have consumed alcohol, and a large percentage of this exhibit binge-drinking and chronic problematic drinking.
With these digits, we have to put it bluntly: we’ve been brainwashed into thinking that alcohol is safe. In fact, there are many myths surrounding alcohol and drinking. It’s not until recently when studies have shown that there really is no “gray area” or safe amount when it comes to drinking alcoholic beverages.
We’ve all seen it in ads, movies, music videos, and everywhere, really. People drink to celebrate, to mourn, to relax, to psych themselves up, to loosen up, enjoy life, or numb themselves. People drink before their performance, they also drink to get through uncomfortable family gatherings. Some use it to enjoy the rest of the night, while others drink to get a good night’s sleep.
But is alcohol really the answer in these situations? Let’s take a look at what alcohol really does to you:
- When you’re feeling down or blue. Alcohol is a depressant so that it tends to leave you more depressed than you are. It will leave you more depressed than you are before you got started. And then you’ll think that going out or having a few more bottles or shots is going to fix it. But before you know it, you’re back on the cycle of sadness and depression. And for others who have problematic drinking, they will also be filled with self-loathing as they question why they still keep drinking and why they can’t stop.
- When you want to have some fun—or lots of it. Ads and the stuff we watch all tell us that toasting to something is worthwhile. Having a glass of alcohol and celebrating something—there’s nothing wrong with that. Furthermore, drinking takes the edge off and you become more uninhibited, so fun is easy to come by. The thing is, getting drunk can often make you do things you wouldn’t normally do sober, and this often doesn’t end well.
- When you want to sleep soundly. Alcohol can really make you nod off. However, if you’re looking forward to a good night’s sleep, alcohol isn’t really the answer. Instead, you might wake up with a dull headache. Drink more and your organs would be aching, wanting you to throw up the poison you ingested (yes, alcohol is in fact ethanol and a poisonous substance).
- When you need that confidence boost. We’ve all seen movies where alcohol helps loosen up actors. You would also think alcohol makes you more confident. However, that could change quickly. You might end up chasing after the wrong high and at the end of the day, you would end up making alcohol-fueled decisions that would make you lose more than your confidence.
- When you need to unwind. There are actually a lot more other things that can help you in this department. Yoga, meditation, physical activity, and many other more worthwhile things can help you. But not alcohol. Soon, with that steady supply of ethanol in your system, you will feel less energized and less motivated. You’ll start to feel so exhausted all the time, and before you know it, you may be down the alcohol rabbit hole.
- When you need a way to escape. Many people turn to alcohol for its numbing effect. However, if you’re in a challenging situation, alcohol is the last thing you should think about. The best thing to tackle these problems is to deal with them. Solve that problem at work or find some way to fix that dysfunctional relationship with better communication. Not alcohol, not drinking yourself through your days. Nothing will get solved by drowning yourself in alcohol.
Alcohol can dull your pain and diminish your problems. But the thing is, these effects are only temporary. The destructive effects of alcohol are insidious.
Find out the negative effects of alcohol and find help so you can turn your back on alcohol for good.