If I drink alcohol just in parties occasionally, can I still land up in trouble?

If a person drinks 1 peg of an alcoholic drink occasionally and stops there, there is no major harm per say. But you also need to consider the following:

1) Does anyone drink out of control, and ruin his family or kill someone in an accident, by choice? Almost all addicts were responsible social drinkers initially…But gradually around 15% become addicted; and many more start binge drinking; though they actually don’t want to. Its good to keep in mind that even people who eventually get addicted, usually happen to have had a strong belief in themselves and had once believed that they would never get out of control.

 

2) It can happen to anyone. Its a misconception that alcohol dependence is a genetic disease or that it happens only to weak minded/ illiterate people. Some people believe that only those with some sort of vulnerability for developing dependence get addicted; eg. who have low will power or those who start drinking to deal with some pain or only those who have a family history of substance dependence, etc. This is a misconception. Having a genetic vulnerability/ family history increases the risk of getting diabetes. But this doesn’t make diabetes a genetic disease. It continues to be a predominantly lifestyle disease. Similarly, though some factors increase or decrease to some extent the probability of a person getting addicted, the most important determinant of whether one would develop alcohol addiction or not is – whether one decides to touch this addictive substance or not. Withdrawal symptoms, tolerance & craving are properties of addictive substances and they have nothing to do with your will power or genetic makeup. For some addiction will develop fast; for some it will be slow – but it can happen to anyone. There are enough number of otherwise successful doctors, engineers, businessmen, etc. who have ruined their lives just because they chose to use this addictive substance to enjoy.

 

3) Can you guarantee that there will never be any major stressor in your life? People who use addictions like alcohol/ tobacco to recreate gradually lose their other recreational & coping skills. So when faced with any stressor, they tend to depend more on these addictions to deals with their pain; and end up becoming addicted. There are many people who drink in control for many years; but then some stressor comes and things change forever. Why keep the door to a slippery slope open in your life?

 

4) Once addicted it is extremely difficult to quit. Most people keep relapsing. So it is not realistic to say that “I will stop if I become addicted to it” or that “I will drink now and stop after few years”. The best way to protect oneself from the trap, is to never touch these addictive substances even once

 

5) The other 85% are also not safe: Studies have shown that upto 56% of Indian drinkers end up drinking in binges. Even in Europe, 43% youth have been found to binge. And binge drinking is also extremely harmful:

a) Most accidents are not done by daily drinkers; but by party drinkers who occasionally drink in parties. And whether the drinker loses his life/ limbs or he kills someone else; the damage done by that one party is often irreversible. We all know of famous personalities like Salman Khan, Mel Gibson, etc. have landed in deep trouble because of this. The issue is do we wish to learn from others’ mistakes; or will we learn the lesson only after our life is irreversibly damaged too. There are so many examples which reveal that just 1 day of partying can ruin a person’s whole life. To quote a few:

Example 1: A particular gentleman used to drink occasionally in parties without it causing any trouble to him or his family. His family was very happy with him. One day while returning from a party, his judgement failed and he met with an accident. He was treated in ICU for 2 weeks. As he was drunk, the insurance company did not pay his bills. The family lost 10 lakhs. And after his deaths, now they have given one room on paying guest basis and his wife now runs a mess at home to manage the house finances….. No one in his family had imagined that just party drinking can have such devastating implications!

Example 2: There was a medical student in a particular college who binged in a party, vomited under intoxication, aspirated it into the lungs and died in the ICU…

Example 3: There was a person who got job in Dubai; celebrated that by drinking with friends, next day morning while driving back home misjudged at the turn, both his legs were cut à job was lost and his engagement was broken…

b) Behavioural problems: Many people, including reputed doctors, misbehave under the intoxicated state in parties. They have to keep carrying the shame of their unbecoming behavior all their lives.

c) Health hazards – Binge drinking is also associated with various health hazards.

d) Work absenteeism: Remaining absent the day after parties is common in all socio-economic strata. Even in the medical fraternity it is routine to see that residents who had binged the previous night do not turn up for duty on time. And this is excused by the unit as an acceptable consequence of the party, which they were all a part of !!

 

6) Drinking & smoking are unhealthy ways of recreation which actually increase your stress in the long run:They might intoxicate you and bring joy in the short run. But in the long run when a leg gets cut, or the diagnosis of cancer is made, or when a person loses his job, they can become the cause of all the stress. Eg. There was a Chief Medical Officer in my hospital who had signed my completion of casualty posting, during my internship. But few years later, I used to see him in our campus in shabby clothes, begging to various doctors for some money. He had become the laughing stock in the campus. Alcohol may have given him great joy for many years. But now it had taken away his job, his respect, his everything… Attend any stress management workshop and they will explain you that – alcohol or tobacco do not give any answers to your questions; they just makes you forget your questions!! Because you forget the question, you don’t get the answer. And the questions of your life keep getting bigger and more complicated….This ostrich mentality soon destroys your life….A loan of 1 lakh becomes of 2 lakhs; then 10 lakhs; and then ends in a suicide… Using intoxicating substances is not a symbol of one’s smartness; rather it’s a certificate of one’s stupidity that he/ she doesn’t have healthier coping skills in life !!

 

Posted in: About Alcohol and Tobacco