I remember being 14 years old and getting excited when asked by some workers to join them for a ‘sport’ after work. After all, where I come from all kids are formally introduced to a variety of sports which improve physical fitness and, for the talented ones, can result in a professional sporting career. You can imagine my dismay when I learnt that in Guyana people refer to ‘sport’ as consuming alcohol.
I grew up convinced that alcohol was something not meant to come in contact with until at least after the age of 18. My uncle, a Medical Doctor, explained with supporting data, the amount of brain-cells that are destroyed by every milliliter of alcohol entering your bloodstream. Let alone the damage it does to your internal organs. I knew that if I were to be able to fully utilize the only brain and body I owned, I would need to take good care of it. Not abuse it with alcohol.
The continued glorification of alcohol use coupled with easy access to the stuff is, in my opinion, one of the reasons for Guyana’s overall poor performance. People are more interested and focused on the after work limes and ‘sports’, than on the actual work to be done. Children look at adults extravagantly and openly consuming alcohol, blasting alcoholic music (yes, its real), and denigrating women (who surprisingly, willingly partake). These are the role-models they strive to emulate.
Historically and psychologically, alcohol abuse has been utilized as an escape, an escape from the pains of hard labor, an escape from social circumstances and an escape from reality. While I do not profess to ban alcohol, I do urge moderated consumption if really required.
One practical solution would be to find a replacement activity that gains similar or better results. Since alcohol (ab)use results in people feeling good, some other activities that make people feel good are going to the gym, playing real sports, engaging in constructive debates, getting a massage, spending time with family, going to dinner, going to the movies, going to the park, gaining qualifications etc. Many of these activities are not congruent with alcohol consumption and may make you realize how negative alcohol abuse really is.
Simply asking yourself: “What do I have to show for my alcohol (ab)use?”, should also enlighten you. None of the discussions make much sense or are even remembered afterwards, hurtful remarks are easier made when drunk, probability of accidents increase tremendously when under the influence and don’t forget the example you set for young ones looking up to you. Imagine the tangible benefits you could get out of the money you are now spending on alcohol!! (textbooks, car payment, mortgage payment, internet access, new phone, savings etc).
While I have a lot of friends in the alcohol consumption promotion business and I actually profit from alcohol consumption, I know that I do not agree with alcohol abuse. So, the next time you need to take ‘one more for the road’, DON’T.