Don't Drink

Just like what morphine, which is itself very dangerously addictive, can do for intractable pain, alcohol has its occasional uses. For instance, it enables the shy little man to socialize with the ladies, or "one or two glasses of French red wine does one's heart good."

But, alcohol in these instances are not the only means of achieving the desired effects. Just like not using morphine except say in terminal cases, alcohol should not be used when other, safer, less addictive measures are available.

Only when a person has a high degree of self-control should he/she be permitted to use it for only health, not social, reasons. That is because whenever one already needs it for social reasons, one is already psychologically frail, or not strong enough to use alcohol rather being used by it. Psychological weakness predisposes one to
depending on something able to "kill the pain," or "raise one's spirit." The weaker a person's psyche, the less one can or would exercise self-restraint. Hence, the more one needs alcohol for social reasons, the more likely one would use and be unable to stop early enough to avoid becoming an alcoholic. But, a strong-willed person repelling alcohol under all circumstances and desiring to live longer with daily two glasses of French red wine ( like myself; but even then, I still do not touch French red wine or any colour of wine ) usually would be able to drink moderately only for health and not turn alcoholic.
Most importantly, socialization should be done psychosocially, not alcoholically. Children should be brought up to socialize with others in a careful, socially acceptable and intelligent manner: to talk to, shake hands or play with, those who can be trusted, and sometimes to speak in front of a crowd, etc. Once the parents and teachers have done their job well enough to provide the children the necessary social skills, there can be no need nor excuse for alcohol. It's like when aspirin is sufficient to kill a pain, the "pain" is only an excuse to get hold of morphine.

The major concern is what alcohol does to the brain. One shot of brandy can make a novice "tipsy." That is why people are forbidden by law to drive with a blood alcohol level exceeding the legal limit. Perhaps one with a level greater than it might not show other signs of impairment. Yet, already, one's judgment or perception of reality is already compromised. Instead of rapid perception and reflexive response, one fails to react in the normal time frame. Hence, one crashes when otherwise an accident could have been avoided.
But, alas, that is only the tip of the iceberg, reflecting how alcohol impairs brain function. Fortunately, the latter in man and animals in its natural state is the NORMAL.

Normality has been the natural state favouring propagation of the species. Therefore, those normal have been able to reproduce and preserve themselves more so than the abnormal. This is a process of
natural selection which however is inadequate to lead to the biological evolution of the Darwinian thinking for one species to evolve into the next. Because the mentally normal has been so propagated, substances incompatible with the brain's natural state could and often do cause the brain to behave in an abnormal or "unnatural" manner.

Since alcohol is one of those unnatural substances to the brain, it interacts with it in such a manner as to make it function in a less than ideal or "normal" fashion. Other than chronic alcoholism, there is also this very acute "drunkenness."

Usually people do not consider drunkenness as a state of mental illness. Yet, in terms of the nature of this form of mental derangement, being drunk is no different from being cocaine-intoxicated: both being a state of mental impairment by the use of an exogenous substance. When the psychosis of cocaine intoxication is usually classified as "drug-induced psychosis," why shouldn't the
bizarre, often violent state of drunkenness be recognized as a form of "alcohol-induced temporary psychosis?"

The truth is that long before a person is classifiable as a chronic alcoholic, the moment one gets truly drunk and shows "loss of the head" as reflected in violent or bizarre behaviour, one actually is already exhibiting alcohol-induced psychotic behaviour endangering the self and particularly others. One is, while drunk in those cases, definitely the usual self. One's perception of reality, intellectual control or modulation of thinking and behaviour, and even the understanding as well as regulation of the most basic physiological functions such as defecation are impaired. One loses social manners, becomes abusive, violent . . ., showing oneself to be a person totally different from the usual self. Murders have been committed by such drunkards while intoxicated. They simply did not know or could not control what they were doing--- in a way satisfying Canadian Criminal Code definition of legal insanity. This element of violence and loss of intellectual control of the self in drunkenness makes such drunkards true dangers to the society. I have seen people who while sober were truly civilized, learned and rational, civilized by a knowledge of reality and philosophical reasoning, and yet while drunk, lost all sense of civility and reason. They while drunk, lost that capacity to properly think and regulate their own behaviour according to knowledge or reason. As a result, they wounded and murdered while drunk. Occasionally, a drunkard murdered his best pal. That is the "toxicity of alcohol" on the brain, suppressing part or all of one's intellectual functioning and disinhibiting one's basic rage or violent instincts. This is why ever so often, abused wives tell the tale of how nice their husbands were while sober and what sort of monsters they turned into while drunk. Women too, show this kind of "dual personality" psychosis: a raving beauty can turn into a charging "bull" while drunk. They are a true "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."( a fictitious character who(Dr. Jekyll) transforms into a monstrous person(Mr. Hyde) after deliberately taking an experimental drug).
Whereas multiple personality is a neurosis, this type of alcoholic dual personality has to be considered a form of psychosis. The reasons are similar if not identical to why cocaine intoxication is a psychosis, not a neurosis.
Yet, because so many people want to defend drunkenness, both the psychiatric and legal professions have not recognized it as "psychosis" , calling it just "drunkenness" instead. That aside, the message is
not to drink unless absolutely necessary to do so without any possibility of getting drunk or becoming a chronic alcoholic.


K.C.Cheng Press


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