It’s well-documented that alcohol can reveal signs of liver damage, and that there’s also a lot of societal and peer pressure to drink alcohol, which shows that there are certain things that ought to push people away from drinking (like the well-known health problems it can cause), but that there are still forced pulling people towards alcohol.
Which is a shame, because for as much as society promotes and celebrates alcohol consumption, there is still a big stigma against people who develop an addiction to alcohol.
In other words, there are these societal forces, advertisements, and pressure that push people towards drinking, and the same society will ostracize, judge, and criticize people who do end up fighting a real struggle with a drining problem, who can’t stop drinking no matter how hard they try.
The Stigma of Alcohol
In this Ted Talk from TEDxFolkestone, the speaker discusses how alcoholism has impacted her own family, and how the stigma around it could be the reason that she lost her father. If society was more empathetic and understanding, how many lives could have been saved in the past, and how many lives could be saved in the future?
Here’s the description from the video:
“In a deeply personal talk, Sarah Drage shares why she believes the stigma attached to alcoholism killed her Dad. Challenging society’s current stereotype against alcoholism by drawing from her family’s lived experience, Sarah’s story is powerful, hard-hitting and emotive, and certainly gives her audience something to think about. Her aim? To break down the stigma attached to alcoholism and empower alcoholics to recover openly and freely, rather than shaming them into silence and anonymity.”
It’s important to understand alcoholism and addiction from an academic perspective, but most of society isn’t going to engage with the academic material to learn how to best behave to increase the chances of people suffering from alcoholism to seek help and achieve a positive outcome. So, it’s also important to connect with people on an emotional level, using stories to help show them how – as a whole – we can all do a lot better to make society safer and more comfortable for people with addictions, including alcohol dependency and addiction.
Recognizing that anyone could have ended up with a substance abuse problem is part of the empathy that creates a more caring society, which encouraged more people to seek help, and breaks down the stigma associated with alcoholism that makes it so hard for so many people to get the help that they need.