One of my former assistants was a recovering alcoholic. When we celebrated her 25th year of sobriety, she made this observation.
“When I tell people why I gave up drinking, they congratulate me. When you tell people you don’t drink, they think you’re judgmental. That’s backwards to me. Why do people pat a person on the back who nearly destroyed her life with alcohol and criticize a person who never started drinking in the first place?”
She went on to thank me for an “alcohol-free” workplace and for requiring students to abstain from using alcohol as part of being role models for others. Our alcohol abstinence policy is controversial for some. They believe social drinking is essential to building community, cultural relevancy, and relational connectedness. It’s not, but those are myths many people believe. They condemn drunkenness, but usually advocate for moderate drinking as healthy and socially responsible.
Well, turns out that’s not the case. A recent major report – based on combining data from almost 1300 studies involving 28 million people globally – reached the following conclusion: no amount of alcohol use is healthy.
According to the lead author of the study, Max Griswold of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, “Previous studies have found a protective effect of alcohol on some conditions, but we found that the combined health risks associated with alcohol increase with any amount of alcohol.” He added, “The widely held view of the health benefits of alcohol needs revising, particularly as improved methods and analyses continue to shed light on how much alcohol contributes to global death and disability. If everyone cut their alcohol consumption in half, we could save a million lives globally.”
Benefits of alcohol abuse are illusionary. Real results are tangible – vitality lost, relationships mangled, families destroyed, and health care and social service systems struggling to clean up the damage. Sometimes, simple solutions are best: stop using alcohol. You – and everyone around you – will be better for it.
The USA Today Article is here.