It’s a confusing world out there. On one hand, we’re learning and talking more and more about addiction and recovery. These topics are out in the open and we’re treating them with less stigma than we ever did.
On the other hand, it seems like alcohol is everywhere. Try to find an Internet meme that doesn’t involve wine or drinking in some way. (Or Ryan Gosling or a cat, but those are different topics for a different day.) You can buy alcohol and drink it while you visit some Starbucks, grocery stores, and Target stores. Heck, you can even buy alcohol at a Taco Bell in Chicago.
Alcohol seems to be a big part of American culture. Many Americans make a big production out of celebrating their twenty-first birthdays, occasions when they are legally able to purchase and drink alcohol for the first time. But many of these same Americans have been drinking for years, because college culture often incorporates alcohol and other substances as part of students’ social activities.
Drinking and alcohol provide the basis of many of our jokes, not only in Internet memes. We’ve all seen the television shows and movies that feature the character of the drunk (but lovable) uncle or the drunk (but lovable) members of a fraternity or sorority house.
But as we’ve all also seen, there isn’t much to love about real-life alcohol abuse. It can destroy people’s health, minds, relationships, and careers, to name just a few things. It can also kill others if people suffering from this abuse decide to drive cars, pilot airplanes, or operate heavy machinery.
Pop culture is good at telling jokes but not as good as depicting the consequences. As we’ve noted, there are more and more real-life stories about addiction and recovery coming to light. Maybe Internet sites, movies, and television shows should highlight these stories. These stories don’t have to be extremely serious or heavy-handed. They just have to be responsible.