Over the last month, I have been tracking how long it takes me to see or hear something alcohol-related during my day.
Spoiler: I have yet to make it to noon.
While it’s possible that I am hyper-sensitive in terms of how often I notice alcohol, I prefer to think it’s the fact it’s virtually everywhere, that makes it practically unavoidable. It seems as though our society is abusing alcohol by overusing it in our advertisements and memes, and romanticizing it in our clothing and conversation.
When I chose to stop drinking, I knew alcohol would always be present in my life, in some capacity. I’m not naive enough to think I can avoid it all together. But I’m not sure if people realize, you don’t have to be in a bar or drinking environment to feel vulnerable and tempted. With that being said, this trend of normalizing alcohol use has become a gigantic pet peeve of mine.
Recently I went to Target to wander around aimlessly, because I’m weird and I like to touch a bunch of pretty things I know I can’t afford. Upon entering the store, there was a display of wine bottles ready to grab simultaneously with your cart. I rolled my eyes thinking about how I have to walk to the back of the store for something essential, like milk, but wine is literally 4 ft from the entrance! I venture to the next section – clothing. A wall of graphic tees with sayings like “Will Run for Wine” and “Coffee till Cocktails” are in my sight line (cue more eye rolling.) Next up, interior decor where the wall “art” urges me to do things like “Keep Calm and Drink More Wine!” At this point I probably let out an audible sigh along with another eye roll. All of this before I even make it to the actual grocery aisles.
When I see all of these things, basically glorifying alcohol, I can’t help but feel sad and angry. Think of all the people who are being influenced – even on a subconscious level. And what about those who are silently struggling but have accepted this as “the norm?” What about the people who simply cannot choose to ignore it?
These influences directly contribute to our nation’s addiction problem and I hate seeing people continually fall victim. These are ploys that blur the fact that alcohol is not a “cure all.” You might say, “it’s not Target or anyone else’s fault you can’t handle drinking!” And if that is what you think, you are missing the point. My point is that if alcohol wasn’t around us as a constant reminder, and wasn’t held in such high regard in every corner of our lives, we probably wouldn’t feel the need to partake as much.
While this may sound like over-sensitive, complaining to some, I hope you can understand that I see alcohol in a completely different light now. I know that it can (and does) ruin lives every day, while I strive to do the opposite. I would like to protect people from this unnecessary pressure, and in doing so, save lives. Because of all these subliminal messages around us, awareness is key to shielding oneself from the impact/affect. I want to send the message, especially to younger generations, that alcohol is NOT a required ingredient for a happy lifestyle.
I challenge you to try my experiment. When you witness the insane amount of times you see alcohol throughout your day, try to think of the people who struggle to keep their cravings at bay. Think of the impressionable kids who are watching closer than you think. Think about families who have lost loved ones as the result of addiction. Are we sending the right message?
If you want to make a step in the right direction and make a difference as much as I do, check out CLTIVATE. I was drawn to the founder, Zack’s story, on instagram. He has such a big heart for those in recovery and I am 100% behind his mission to help cultivate the fight against addiction. Please read about how you can help and buy a shirt that has a positive meaning!
*These are my personal opinions and I am in no way saying sobriety is for everyone. However, life is for everyone and I hope you don’t miss it because of things that hold you back.