The way drugs like alcohol are viewed, used and consumed, says a lot about the evolution of a society. When we look at our current world cultures and society, it is obvious to see that alcohol continues to play a major role in the lives of humanity. This drug is generously promoted through seductive advertisements, used at both common and elite functions, and abused by many everyday people.
It is regularly relied on by the overworked employee, the heart-broken lover, the restless teen, or the disempowered human being. People in our society use it for many purposes that include drowning their sorrows, numbing their minds, relaxing their bodies or seeking a state of feeling good. It has been used as a tool for celebration, control and manipulation, defended by many as a simple life pleasure for the taste buds.
But what does all this really say about our society’s current level of evolution?
As long as we continue to rely on and seek external physical sources to distort our state of being, we fail to grasp the infinite human potential within. We basically are undermining our true nature, cutting ourselves short and denying ourselves the fullest expression of our freedom. People think that they should be “free to drink” whatever and whenever they want, but being hooked on, addicted to, or unable to function without a particular substance indicates the opposite of freedom–it indicates a form of slavery. Our bodies follow the state of our mind, and when our mind is a slave to an idea or a physical substance we relinquish our freedom to act from the highest, most conscious state of our being.
One clear sign of a highly evolved society is where we understand our true nature and take responsibility for our lives, consciously creating our reality through every thought, word and action we take. This is naturally too much still for many in our society to accept, or apply, therefore articles like this will not yet be popular with the mainstream. When we grasp the power of our mind, and begin to use it to its fullest potential, it is then that we start to live life from the most powerful foundation. At this stage, we no longer see the inclusion of mind altering substances like alcohol, as a logical or desirable part of our lives.
Whatever your personal feelings are about alcohol at this point, know that this topic is part of a very personal journey for each person. A journey that takes each one of us to the deepest core of our being. Regardless of your personal pace along this path, there is no doubt that our society has by now seen the many destructive sides of alcohol. And so in this article my only hope and purpose is to inform you further about this substance and inspire you to re-think its inclusion in your life.
#12: Alcohol Is A Drug
It may be lovely to see the fancy commercials of sexy people lounging around and enjoying alcohol as if it was some harmless delicacy from which a “good time” is derived, but the hard truth not delivered is that alcohol is a drug, and to add to that it is a toxic substance. It depresses the central nervous system, like barbiturates, sedatives, and anesthetics.There are no ways around that. The definition of a drug, is any substance that alters normal bodily function, and of course this does not always need to be negative. However, when it alters your brain function, as well as your entire central nervous system and comes with toxic effects for your entire body, the picture takes on a clear perspective that in this case, it very much is negative in nature.
Our society of course does a wonderful job at masquerading it as the substance of choice for all of your parties, barbecues, romantic encounters and other festivities. It is just a “beverage”, a “drink” it is claimed, and comes in almost whatever color you are in the mood for. It is too bad we don’t stop and ask more often what happened to us as a human race that we cannot have a good time without a mind altering substance, but that can be a whole other topic. The point is that we cannot deceive ourselves with fancy martini glasses, or catchy names, or colors. Sometimes the truth in plain sight, is the most inconvenient one to see.
#11: It is Addictive
Similar to the fact that alcohol is a toxic drug, is the fact that it is addictive. Sure, most people will claim that *they* are not addicted as most in our society think that one has to be a full blown alcoholic to be an addict. However, if you feel an urge to keep going back for more, or feel like you “need a drink”, the sad truth is that you are addicted. For many people coming home at the end of the day after work does not complete the day without having a drink. For others being in the company of others is unthinkable without consuming alcohol. The examples are many, the conclusion is always the same. Alcohol’s addictive properties have ruined people financially, ruined their health, relationships, families and above all the quality of life and sense of self.
#10: It’s a Waste of Money
At a time when all we seem to hear about is how poor the economy is doing, how many people are out of work and how many are struggling to make ends meet, we all seem to be looking for ways to save. And when it comes to alcohol, this should be one of the first things to go if we are in need of saving, or need to cut back. It brings nothing of *real* value to our health or happiness, instead tends to cost us dearly on many levels. From health to relationship problems, the financial costs of alcohol are just the tip of the iceberg. It also never ceases to amaze me how many people will claim they cannot afford to eat healthy, or buy more produce, or buy organic, yet have no problem putting money towards a toxic substance week after week. So when it comes to spending money on alcohol, we really need to get our priorities straight, of course depending on what we are seeking from life.
It also goes without saying that many defend needing alcohol as a way of “coping” with hard times, as in not having enough money, but in today’s modern times we know we have much better outlets for that. The field of self-help is booming and there are infinite resources from free to paid abundant all around us to help us with whatever issues we may be facing. We can continue to apply band-aid approaches pretending the wounds don’t exist, or we can start to address the real issues in our lives finding true happiness, joy, purpose and meaning along the way. It simply takes us getting really honest and starting to take accountability for our lives. Everything we have in our life is created by us, whether we are conscious of that or not, and this is a tough pill to swallow for many, forcing them to resort to alcohol, or even other drugs.
#9: Causes Weight Gain
While this is not the case for all, most people will experience some weight gain from alcohol consumption, while all ingest a heavy load of unnecessary extra calories. Did you know that alcohol provides 7 calories per gram, and that those are completely empty calories? The only thing higher is fat, coming in at 9 calories per gram, with carbs and proteins providing only 4 calories per gram. So you may be choosing a weight loss diet in vain, if you are regularly consuming alcohol, which adds lots of empty calories unnecessarily.
To add to that, the consumption of alcohol causes you to burn fat more slowly than usual, which results not just in extra weight but also often in the infamous “beer belly“. Researchers have also found that people who binge drink, this being have 4-5 drinks in a row, such as is the norm at many at social gatherings, are more likely to develop a beer belly, than those whose alcohol consumption is low or spread out. Excess weight, especially in the abdominal region, and even if it is only a few extra pounds, causes various levels of stress and strain to your body that have been linked to numerous chronic diseases, including all variations of heart disease and metabolic syndrome.
#8: Sets a Poor Example for Others
One of the most common factors that continues to be overlooked time and time again is how the popularity of alcohol is portrayed and spread to others. This is an especially critical fact for parents, who hope that their kids don’t drink, or abuse alcohol. Yet, it is common knowledge that kids who come from households where there is no use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs are much less likely to engage in these themselves. The opposite side of that coin is also true, in that kids who grow up with parents who use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, are more likely to engage in these substances themselves, continuing vicious family cycles.
When it comes to parents, I understand that many say that they are teaching their children “how” to drink responsibly by drinking themselves, but the truth of the matter is that there is a very small grey area of what is responsible when it comes to the consumption of any alcohol. If your kids see you needing a drink to celebrate, or to unwind, or for any other reason, it sends a clear message to them of what is acceptable behavior. Secondly, more often than not, parents underestimate how quickly children as young as 2 years old imprint on their habits. And as they grow up, if there is one thing that children are ultra sensitive to, it is hypocrisy or double standards. If you don’t want your kids to drink, start by setting the example yourself.
So if you want to help your family, your community and our society as a whole, stop being a follower and start being a leader. Experts today also state that letting your kids drink with you isn’t the right way to go either to try to teach them responsible habits. Contrary to the belief held by many, it is *realistic* for people to never drink, whether in their teens or as adults. So be the change you wish to see and step up to the plate setting an example for other adults, teens and kids alike everywhere.
Alcohol ruins one physically, morally, intellectually and economically. Alcohol makes a man forget himself; and while its effects last, he becomes utterly incapable of doing anything useful.
#7: Alcohol Eats Away Your Muscles
Yes, it is true and this is a fact that many who consume alcohol do not realize. The biochemistry of how and why this happens is multi-fold and you can read more about this in your personal research. Keeping a good muscle mass is important for overall health, not just for body builders. A healthy amount of muscle mass keeps other areas of our health in check, such as our hormone levels, fat stores, bone mass, etc.
And of course if personal training is of prime importance to you, this alone should be motivating enough to keep alcohol out of your life. It is unfortunate that many go to the gym for hours, only to have the effects diminished by then drinking for hours. Also, the more muscle we lose, the more fat we gain, and so this vicious cycle perpetuates a downward spiral where alcohol and our health are concerned. Finally, tied to the loss of muscle mass is the decrease in testosterone, which perpetuates the vicious cycle further. For men specifically, this can greatly impact the overall health, leading to anything from increased hair loss to a decreased sex drive.
#6: Depletes Your Nutrients
To this day many people believe that alcohol is “natural and healthy in moderation“. Yet when we dissect the details, we come to understand that there are no benefits from alcohol that we cannot get in other, harm-free ways. For example, people who drink wine often rely on it as a source of resveratrol. However, it does seem a little backwards to seek benefits from a substance that at minimum our body has to detoxify, when the original source–the red grapes, are much richer in it, without any of the harmful side effects.
Secondly, most people who consume alcohol do not realize how much alcohol depletes valuable vitamin and/or mineral reserves. In fact, a heavy or regular consumption of alcohol can make us deficient in various nutrients. It depletes the body of many essential nutrients such as all the B vitamins, especially B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, and folic acid, which are all required for healthy brain and nervous system function. It also depletes vitamins C and K, zinc, magnesium, calcium and potassium.Therefore anyone who drinks alcohol on a regular basis should pay even more attention to the quality of their diet, ensuring a rich nutrient-dense intake daily. The irony is that most who drink alcohol, pay less attention to their diet, with heavy drinkers often having some of the worst diets.
#5: Is the Number One Gateway Drug to Further Drug Abuse
A recent report has found that contrary to popular belief, it is alcohol, not marijuana that is the number one gateway drug. This meaning that it is the starting point which leads to further or other drug use and abuse. This again goes back to some of the previous points where we tie in alcohol’s addictive qualities and the examples set by society promoting this substance readily for social functions of all kinds. For many people alcohol use is just the tip of the iceberg, which opens a path to other mind and body altering substances.
In 2010, a study published in the Lancet journal, found that alcohol was the most harmful drug overall. A 2012 study published in the Journal of School Health that studied high school students found that alcohol represented the “gateway” drug, leading to the use of tobacco, marijuana, and other illicit substances. Numerous other studies have pointed at a similar conclusion showing that we have more than enough proof to take education about alcohol seriously not just in school and drug programs, but in society as a whole.
Overall, alcohol is the most harmful drug because it’s so widely used.
David Nutt, Professor
#4: Puts Stress On Your Organs – Every Time
Chronic alcohol use not only displaces calories from needed nutrients, but also interferes with the body’s metabolism of nutrients and leads to the damage of organs. The brain, liver, heart, pancreas, lungs, kidneys, and every other organ and tissue system are infiltrated by alcohol within minutes after it passes into the blood stream. Here are some main consequences of alcohol consumption on two of the organs most affected:
Brain – The brain is the organ that is most affected by alcohol. Three noticeable effects of alcohol injury to the brain include: memory loss, confusion, and augmentation. Many incorrectly believe that alcohol is a stimulant, however it is a depressant in nature and not only interferes with proper organ function, it also interferes with our mental and emotional states. Normally those who drink during times of depression, end up spiraling into ever deeper negative states of being. To add to this, alcohol is neurotoxic, meaning that it kills brain cells.
Liver – Whether you are drinking hard liquors or fancy wines, your liver needs to detoxify the alcohol every single time, regardless of the dose. Sure, it has an easier time handling small amounts, dispersed over time, but the unnecessary stress to detoxify is still there. And while a bit of alcohol here and there may seem like no big deal where your liver is concerned, today it is more of an issue than ever before as our liver has to detoxify chemicals constantly from our water, air, food, personal care products and other sources.
For a detailed understanding, one needs to read further about how the body metabolizes alcohol and its damaging effects. Regular, pro-longed or heavy ingestion of alcohol has also been linked with an increased risk of cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, esophagus, larynx, stomach, colon, rectum, liver, female breast, and ovaries.
#3: Directly Interferes With Appetite Control in Your Brain
As if it wasn’t bad enough that alcohol came in itself with an abundant amount of calories, researchers have engaged in studying why people who drink also seem to eat more. With average drinks coming in at 200-300 calories per serving, one would think that our appetite would go down, not up. However, the opposite appears to be true.
In a 2003 study published in the Journal of Physiology & Behavior, researchers found that alcohol appears to stimulate appetite in part, due to elevated levels of subjective hunger. Meals appear tastier and more appetizing when alcohol is involved and people also get hungry more after drinking alcohol. Part of the reasoning for the increase in appetite is also that alcohol has a direct effect on the brain and how it sends and receives hunger signals, interfering with this process. Research has also found that alcohol and fatty foods share the same brain chemical trigger, thereby increasing the association of one with the other. The resulting scenario increases our risk for weight gain and all chronic diseases.
#2: Is Destructive To Your Self, Community and Society
Alcohol consumption causes harm far beyond the physical and psychological health of the drinker. It also causes harm to the well-being and health of others. In 2010 British Prof. David Nutt, the one-time chief drugs adviser to the government, co-authored a report that said alcohol use and abuse in England was more harmful than crack or heroin, when the overall damage they all cause to society are measured. From automobile accidents and suicides, to violent behavior and destruction of the human potential, the effects of choosing to purchase, consume and support the use of alcohol run far and wide.
Many organizations, including the alcohol producers and retailers themselves in our society are involved in education about responsible alcohol consumption. However, to buy into this initiative, you have to believe that the concepts of “alcohol” and “responsible” go hand in hand together. For an increasing number of us on this planet today, that is simply not the case any longer. This does not mean that people are unable to drink “responsibly”. Not at all. Many adults, and even teens worldwide are responsible enough to call it quits after a small alcohol intake, or consume alcohol infrequently. The issue however is that when examined from all angles, alcohol is destructive to the individual, their families, the community and society as a whole, so it seems irresponsible to promote the use of this substance in any form. Moderation doesn’t cut it here either for numerous reasons. Thus this goes back to the initial point about our society being ready for its next step of evolution where we start to create our lives from a high degree of conscious awareness and personal accountability, rather than continuing to rely on substances that numb our potential.
And reason # 1: Distorts Your Perception Of Reality
The very reason that most choose to drink, should be the very reason that we choose not to drink. It is no surprise that many humans on this planet are not happy, or at one time or another in their life wish to remove themselves from the reality they have created for themselves. To feel that numbed feeling where happiness comes easier and the inner emotional pain or turmoil feels diminished is what drives most to drink. To release oneself from who they are or have become, or to feel the sensation of being someone different, to forget, to relax, and to cloud what is, also make up the sought after effects of alcohol. What we do not realize however is that we keep hurting and harming ourselves more in this process as we are not dealing with root issues, rather we are placing band-aid after band-aid on the same undealt with wounds.
If we want a real solution, we have to understand how and why we get ourselves in the predicaments we do in the first place. These always come down to a lack of conscious awareness, and alcohol unfortunately further degrades our conscious awareness digging us deeper into our own problem holes. The issue lies in the fact that we as a human race create our lives unconsciously 99% of the time, through chance and default. Sometimes things work out, and sometimes they don’t. And until we understand the process of conscious life creation, we will continue to place blame outside of ourselves and feel like victims. If and when, we finally wake up to understanding how we create our reality, we will no longer need to resort to drugs and drug-like substances to give us a break from the reality we have created unknowingly.
Along with destroying our perception of reality, alcohol also affects those portions of the brain that control judgment. So being stimulated by alcohol, actually translates into a suppression of self-control. This is another way that alcohol distorts our perception of reality and can get us into all sorts of trouble from the minor to the major. However at the end of the day, IF we have the courage to take an honest look in the mirror, no excuse is good enough to justify poisoning our body in any amount, while numbing our conscious awareness and destroying our infinite potential.
Taking drugs, gambling and alcohol is lack of inner realization of our inner potential – inner value.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
In the end, you of course decide if alcohol has a place in your life, and if so to what extent. I simply know that as a human race we can do better, and the time has come for us to step into the fullness of our creative potential and act from the highest state of our being. We no longer need to seek happiness outside for we realize that it is within. We no longer need to be slaves to external substances, for we realize that our potential is to be, do or have anything we require for our highest good.
Therefore at this time of awakening on our planet, during this amazing shift, be still and listen to your inner being. Start being proactive about your life and creating it to what you want to see it be, rather than continuing to rely on numbing mechanisms for not having things be, or go the way you wished.
And know that along this journey, any support or resources you may need are available and abundant in many forms today. In fact, many people are unaware that they are far from alone in choosing to remove alcohol from their lives completely. According to the NIAAA, it is estimated that 35% of people in the US never drink alcohol and according to the WHO, 45% of people globally never drink alcohol. I am proud today to be part of those statistics, and certain these numbers will only continue to increase as we continue to awaken and expand our consciousness and human potential.