#2344 Day 10: Your Views on Drugs and Alcohol

Johnny Depp in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

This is an interesting one for me — I come from a Baha’i family, and Baha’is are teetotalers. Neither of my parents has had a single sip of alcohol in more than 30 years, and I grew up with nary a bottle in sight. The only times I was ever exposed to alcohol as a child was when we went out for dinners with my grandparents and they’d have glasses of wine (much to my shock and dismay); when I spent time at my friends’ houses and they’d have drinks over the barbecue; or at the rugby clubrooms where I’d watch middle aged men drink too many jugs of beer then drive home with their kids in tow. The quote that was bandied about in my household was, “Alcohol produceth the absurd.” And I think you’d be hard pressed to argue with it.

As I got older, I was constantly surrounded by alcohol — like every other teenager in the world, the parties I went to were filled with drunk girls spewing, aggressive boys fighting and sexually mature students getting it on. I was the designated driver for my group of friends and endured the annoyance of everyone laughing at jokes I could never really be a part of, and the privilege of over-charging for petrol and receiving free McDonald’s at the end of the night.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve since drunk alcohol, and I’ll be the first to admit that partying is more fun when you’re drunk. But having witnessed devastating behaviour — my own included — over the past 15 or so years (and you’ve got to remember that my Mum established and ran one of New Zealand’s biggest schools for teenage mothers, many of whom became pregnant while under the influence), I do often think to myself, ‘This is kinda crazy. Why do we humans do this to ourselves?’ I don’t know a single couple who goes out and doesn’t fight while drunk, I don’t know a single person who doesn’t go out and feel a little embarrassed after drinking too much, and I don’t know anyone at all who hasn’t done something they completely and utterly regret while wasted. And that’s not even mentioning the road deaths, the hangovers, or the money spent.

I’d like to raise my children in a situation similar to the way I was raised, because I’ve often thought that the absence of alcohol probably contributed to both the stability in my family and my parents’ insanely happy marriage.

As for drugs, I don’t mess around with that stuff and I wish other people wouldn’t either. I could never be in a relationship with someone who uses them, and I prefer not to be around people if they’re doing cocaine/MDMA/whatever else, but if I don’t know about it then I guess ignorance is bliss. One of my best friends killed himself after taking acid just one time and experiencing drug-induced psychosis when we were 21, so as you can imagine that left a pretty major impact on me as far as hallucinogens are concerned. And I don’t really understand why people smoke weed, but if they can function while on it then whatever, it’s their choice.

At the end of the day, I’m never going to tell anyone what to do unless their behaviour is specifically affecting me in a negative way, or if they’re my children, in which case I will take them down if I catch them being naughty.

One last thing: There is nothing glamorous about having a Facebook page filled with photos of you and your friends clutching champagne glasses, beer bottles or magnums of Grey Goose.

And that’s about all I have to say about that.


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  1. isaaclikes says

    Yeah whoops, shows how much I know about the subject. I hated that movie. (Caption is now changed.)

  2. GBannis says

    It’s important to distinguish between enjoying alcohol (as in tasting a fine wine) and getting drunk. The examples you gave were of drunk people.

    In the case of drugs, I agree with you. One can’t “enjoy” drugs without getting high, and then those people are not present anymore to their environment or the people they’re with.

  3. boganpete says

    While your stance is valid ,much harm is done to the treatment of drug abusers when caught. I think you would be shocked to know how many people take drugs non-habitually and still have healthy productive lives. The issue is with drug enforcement policies which i have no doubt do more damage to the user than the drugs themselves, if we lived in a more tolerant society drug abuse would be treated as a mental health issue rather than criminal.

    You don’t need drugs to have a fight with your missus or get with anybody, it just makes it some what easier. if your taking drugs to look cool then i think you have bigger problems. Its not the drugs its the attitude to them and the enforcement of drug laws.

  4. Jess says

    Couldn’t agree with this more. I’m a teenager and drugs and alcohol have just never interested me, seems just like a waste of time and money.

  5. isaaclikes says

    1. I’m not arguing about the criminal treatment of drug abusers, and I’ve watched enough Russell Brand interviews to agree with you that the system often does more harm than good to those with addictions.

    2. I’m not in the least bit shocked by people who take drugs non-habitually and still have healthy and productive lives — I live in New York, I see these people on a daily basis. I’ve never seen anybody get themselves into trouble while taking cocaine, for example, but I still don’t like being around it, and I feel semi weird whenever my friends/people I love are doing it because I genuinely believe it must take its toll in some way, whether that’s physically, mentally or spiritually.

    Like I said, I’m not telling anyone else what to do, but I really think you’d struggle to argue that drugs aren’t the problem, drug enforcement is. I would say that drugs are very much the problem, and I’ve witnessed firsthand how many people’s lives are irrevocably changed as a result of somebody’s drug use.

  6. isaaclikes says

    This is true, but I’d say as a young person growing up in New Zealand and now as a (not so young) person living in New York the amount of people who I know who drink to enjoy the taste of the wine versus drink to get drunk is less than 1% versus 99%.

    But yeah you are right there is a definite difference between moderation and binge drinking.

  7. GBannis says

    Agree with Isaac. There is a problem with being high on drugs, just as there is with being drunk on alcohol. And people don’t do drugs half-way: the whole point is to get high.

    And when you’re high your judgement is impaired, your senses are handicapped, and you really are not relating well to others around you. A mental health issue, in your own words, is just as serious regardless of any criminal aspects.

  8. freena says

    Agree with everything you said. A lot of people who argue that they don’t need alcohol to have a good time can’t have a decent night out without drinking – it’s a little bit sad. We need to rely on our killer personalities a little more rather than some drug-induced high.

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