Blast From The Past – Legalize Or Not? What Makes The Difference?

Do you have this thing called “Dry July” as well? The challenge to not drink alcohol for the entire month of July? Well, we do down here. And I decided to try to tackle it. And while I realize how much I enjoy my glass of wine in the evening and also how I feel like I miss it at the moment, it also makes me think about what addiction actually is. It’s not only physical. It’s mental as well. My body doesn’t react cold turkey style but my mind challenges me every evening when I sit down on the sofa. It challenges me in asking for that glass of wine every time our dinner is served. A good lesson to learn and a great challenge to go through. Not to speak of the realization that comes with all of this. So I decided to share a Blast From The Past in regards to drugs today…

The reblog of a post about legalizing Marijuana and the conversation with some fellow bloggers afterwards pushed me to finally post this post here, which I had sitting in my draft section for a long time now. For years now I ask myself on occasion if I’m an addict?

Where does addiction start? I love drinking wine. If I would not control myself I would drink wine every night. And most probably more than just the one glass, which is still considered a health benefit. The reasons why I control myself – sometimes successfully and sometimes not – lies in my past. I’m not going to play a blame game because it just doesn’t make any sense and yet I still believe that what you see when growing up has a huge influence on how you live your life and the choices you might make.

For my parents it was normal to drink a bottle of red wine a night. They never drank during the day, maybe sometimes had an occasional drink before dinner or my mom started on the wine while cooking. There were many reasons to drink. A celebration of some kind, a hard day, a relaxed day, being stressed, not being stressed, a good meal, a nice cut of meat. I could go on and on.

I realize how much all of this actually influences my behavior. And it annoys me. I didn’t drink at all until I was about 21. When going out I more than once heard “can you even have fun without a drink”, which I thought was a pretty sad question. I never had an issue with having fun and I for sure had the better morning the next day than everyone else.

But it started at one point and suddenly I found myself in the habit of having that glass of wine while cooking. Having that glass of wine after a stressful day in the office. Having that glass of wine when it was a relaxing evening. And more than once it ended up being two glasses, maybe three.

It creeps up on you.

Now, being a mom and after having had my stretches of being back in this drinking every night habit, I made the decision a while ago to only drink on special occasions. Sometimes I stick to it and sometimes I don’t but I deal with it in a different way. And still I find myself longing for the glass of wine when I had a bad day. I know that I’m not physically addicted to drinking. I can go a month without it (as I’ve tested last December) and my body is not going on cold turkey. But I have to convince myself very often not to drink.

I think addiction has way more to do with your mental state than with a physical side. Of course you get your body to the point where it needs it, but that is way down the line from most of us. It’s that craving, the mental craving, which is a first sign of addiction, I believe.

Alcohol addiction and addiction to pills, mainly painkillers were not unknown on one side of my family. I saw the effects growing up, seeing my aunts. It was terrifying.

It makes me get to the conclusion that becoming an addict has a lot to do with the individual. I believe that you realize what’s happening to you and if you want to stop it you can. But if you want to disappear in this fog of drugs you will. And for doing that you don’t need Marijuana or any other way stronger drug. You simply get some alcohol or some over the counter painkillers. If you need a bigger kick, you combine the two or you get stronger drugs, drugs you need a prescription for. Believe me, you will get this prescription…

This is the reason why I wonder why Marijuana, which has so many obvious health benefits, is still labeled illegal. I wonder why alcohol is so easy accessible? If something like alcohol, which obviously gets you addicted and is the cause for so much misery (numbers of accidents, domestic violation, street fights, bar fights and so on, you name it), is not labeled an illegal drug, why would something like Marijuana be? How come, alcohol is legal in in most countries so easy accessible for young people, for everyone whereas marijuana is still illegal? Look at these crazy numbers!

Think of all those people, who might sit behind the wheel, driving home from a party drunk. Think of all those people who might send their kids to the fridge to grab them another beer, another bottle of wine or more ice for their whiskey… Think of all those people supervising your kids somewhere but mentally not being there as they are either totally hung-over or opening another bottle in their mind. Maybe they even had a drink already… People, who are in charge of something that might affect your life or the life of your loved ones! A pilot, a bus driver, a teacher… 2.5 million alcohol-related deaths worldwide every year!

And still, alcohol is not an “issue”. It is not illegal. You can go to the supermarket and buy it there. Well, that is in the USA and in Switzerland and most probably in so many other countries as well. In Australia you get it in liquor shops, but they are most often part of a supermarket as well.

Sure, kids cannot buy it officially, but honestly: It is damn easy to get. Do you lock your alcohol away? We don’t.

There are adds for it on TV, after or during sport events. Ads that tell you that it would be oh so much better and nicer and lovelier with that glass of wine or that bottle of beer. Ads that tell you that you need to drink this or that to be cool, or to get the guy or impress the girl. Even if, which I think is highly questionable, only adults watch those ads, they basically tell you that you are a looser if you don’t drink… And you know what it does? It creates that feeling of normality. Drinking a beer or drinking wine is just totally normal. Our kids grow up thinking that drinking is cool. I’ve never been to a friends house for dinner without alcohol being served. It’s the message we teach our kids.

I’m not saying that I think alcohol should be illegal. Not at all! I still like it too much to go there! But I just wonder, why it is not considered a bigger issue. Considering the strength and the affects of Marijuana, it’s really not that much different form alcohol. Why is it then, that it’s such a tabu?

I just want to understand. I want to understand why something that obviously makes you addicted and causes problems can be easily purchased where as other things with a similar effect on your body is considered illegal. Where do they draw the line and why is it done? When did they decide to label Marijuana illegal and why?

As I said prior: It depends on the person. You can smoke Marijuana on occasion and not become addicted. You can drink wine and not become addicted, you can take painkillers because you need them and not become addicted. Or you just let it happen. And if you let it happen you let it happen with everything.

17 thoughts on “Blast From The Past – Legalize Or Not? What Makes The Difference?

  1. I missed this the first time around so glad you posted it again. Good piece! I’m also one that thinks it’s crazy that marijuana is illegal. I’m glad to see that so many states are coming around and allowing medical marijuana…and some are even legalizing personal use, if not already it’s close. I think it’s only a matter of time before it will be legalized nationwide but it’s definitely a few years down the road.
    Regarding addiction: I think that people who get addicted have something in common: they have addictive personalities. There is much research into the theory and many factors contribute and act together to make a “perfect storm” so to speak (physical, psychological, environmental, etc) but I think the whole concept has merit. And I also think people can be at various points on the addictive personality spectrum.
    I used to own a bar and for many years before that (starting in my late teens) I was a definite party animal. I drank a lot! Mostly socially. So for years, I drank daily, especially when I owned the bar, being there every day and every night. But I never considered myself addicted to alcohol. I sold the bar back in 1996 and went on a health kick (because I had gained a lot of weight after I bought the bar: drinking beer every day will do that!) and stopped drinking because I didn’t want to consume the extra calories. To this day I rarely drink. I do if I go out with friends or go out for dinner or when having friends or family over, etc. But just to drink to drink, I just don’t have a taste for it.
    The same with cigarettes. I started smoking at a very young age (it all started with a dare at age 11, I know, terrible!) and I smoked regularly for 26 years. I never considered myself addicted. I smoked because I truly enjoyed it. And then in ’96, when I went on that health kick, I just stopped smoking. Cold turkey. Didn’t use patches or a step-down method. I just quit. And, to me, it was easy. (Now I did have to curtail some behaviors when first giving up the cigarettes: I quit going to bars (because whenever I went to a bar, I smoked — back when smoking was allowed in establishments); I quit drinking coffee for awhile (because I always used to have a cigarette with my cup of coffee) and I stayed off the phone (because I used to always grab my cigarettes when I talked on the phone). That made the quitting easier and got me over that initial hump).

    Anyway, So does all this mean that I don’t have the addictive personality traits? Maybe. I’ve been addicted to other things though. Eating, compulsive shopping. But thankfully never to the point of destruction or interfering with my life.

    I guess my point is: there’s nothing wrong with drinking a glass of wine or two or three every night, if that’s what one enjoys. It becomes a problem when it goes from enjoyment to being a necessity. And I don’t think that making pot legal will mean that more people will get addicted to it. People will get addicted to it if they have addictive personalities (in my opinion) and if they don’t, they won’t. I don’t think legality has anything to do with it.

    Good topic for discussion! I won’t ramble on anymore. But I definitely did enjoy your post. Have a great rest of your week!

    Michele at Angels Bark

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think marijuana should be legal over here. Most people have a physical dependency on coffee, if you drink coffee everyday and you miss having it, most likely you will get a headache. That’s a weening off symptom.
    But nobody would call you a coffee addict.
    I think there’s a difference between using a substance and abusing a substance. I think a lot of people use chemicals and substances as a coping mechanism, choice of poison if you like.
    But when you destroy your whole life for the sake of a substance, that’s true addiction. And I feel like there’s a little more to it then just choosing to be strong and not doing something.
    I have put my life in danger and my financial future in ruins over my addictions.
    Addiction is a mental illness, either on it’s own or coupled with other mental illnesses.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m addicted to two things… caffeine and sugar. I try my damnedest to curb the sugar habit because it can cause complications. It’s hard though… really hard. However, you’ll pry my coffee from my cold, dead hand. *sigh* Though with my latest digestive developments I’ve had to cut back on the coffee too >_< Stupid body.

    Anyway, pot is legal here in Washington, which the hubby likes. I don't indulge for… reasons. He also enjoys his evening glass or three of wine. I'm not a wine person, and alcohol in general doesn't play well with my psych meds. But I'm totally for legalization of weed because you're right, it's not even as bad as alcohol and never should have been made illegal in the first place.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This article is excellent. I think alcohol is a greater social problem than cigarette smoking. Too much money is being profited from alcohol and governments are reluctant to do anything about it. When I was living in South Africa, I was shocked to realise that alcohol could be purchased every day from 8 am and I began to understand that booze and smokes were so very, very, cheap there as though it was in someway keeping people from reality.
    What we see every day and what we grew up with is considered normal, but we need to stop and think that just because something has always been done, does not mean it cannot be changed or that it is correct. I believe alcoholism can be hereditary as I have witnessed from the maternal side of my family.
    Throughout nearly 40 years of my marriage, my husband and I have lived by one rule – never drink alcohol the night before you have to work the next day – and consequently, we usually only drink on Saturday nights and yes, we do enjoy it. His mother stopped herself from her “addiction” and made her rule – never drink at home – and as a pensioner, she found it far too expensive to go out and drink.
    What is absolutely true is the older I become, the harder alcohol is on my body and over recent years I have found myself drinking less and exercising a lot more.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I believe there is also a body chemistry/physical basis for addiction, which I guess may be one component of what some would call an addictive personality. This also supports the theory that this proclivity is something that may be inherited.

    Liked by 1 person

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