by Nancy McCormack MSN,RN,NC-BC
EverPresent Health and Wellness
When we think of celebrating, weddings, anniversaries, friends or even just Fridays, many of us choose to gather at a local establishment for a few drinks. We blow off some steam, laugh and “ take the edge off”. In this country, as well as many others, alcohol remains a staple for many celebratory occasions, or even venting, collaborating or “supporting” someone through a difficult time.
In the era of mental health and wellness awareness, is this something we should now recognize as a downfall to many we love. Are we setting the stage for something far greater than “dinner and drinks”? How often do we remind ourselves that alcohol is part of our substance abuse disorder repertoire and can often be abused..
None of us would intentionally risk the welfare of our friends or loved ones . So why is it that we normalize the idea of “mom juice” when advertising alcoholic spritzers, or wine, have commercials that support the notion that we as humans, celebrate with alcohol. How often do we consider the recovering or struggling alcoholic among us having to explain why they aren’t drinking while someone with a drink in hand is free from interrogation?
I find that oftentimes we neglect to realize the impact our passivity has on others, especially those diagnosed with a substance use disorder.
Do we unknowingly discriminate? Because substance abuse does not. It affects every race, gender , creed and economic status and is estimated that approximately 18.4 million people have had at least one substance use disorder, including alcohol, in the past year: and one in four families are impacted. So, when we decide to drink, the general rule is “drink responsibly” but how “responsible” are we ?