Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Don’t blame alcohol, you have the problem

This column will probably ruffle some feathers and downright anger a few people, but I don’t really care. There is so much misinformation and mythology surrounding alcohol I think somebody needs to point it out.

I heard several disturbing reports in the news this past week about those who did bad things while they were intoxicated. They didn’t just say they were drunk and did something wrong, they blamed alcohol for the behavior.

Mel Gibson, actor and movie producer, got bombed and drove toward home recently in California. He was stopped by the police and proceeded to turn into a horse’s backside. Gibson shouted racial slurs about Jews and showed his true colors. Getting drunk did not create those thoughts he inappropriately blurted out, they were already there, waiting for enough alcohol to loosen his tongue.

Gibson apologized, rightly so, and explained he has suffered from alcoholism his entire adult life. But he didn’t own up to the statements he made beyond blaming his drunkenness.

So Mel, are you an anti-Semitic jerk, or just a guy who blurts out bad things when the sauce hits you too hard? I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it’s likely the first one.

On Monday the news broke that the soldiers who stand accused of murdering an entire Iraqi family and raping their 14-year-old girl had been drinking prior to the incident. One headline on a news Web site said the “attack was fueled by alcohol.” The story went on to say that at least four U.S. soldiers played cards and drank Iraqi whisky mixed with an energy drink for several hours before they allegedly committed the rape and killings.

Again, sorry folks, but the booze didn’t make anyone do anything. It might have lowered their judgment and reasoning to an all-time low, but they were aware of their actions if they indeed did the crimes.

I’ve heard those excuses my entire life and it’s a load of hooey. Booze doesn’t make you do anything, it only lowers your inhibitions. Being drunk allows thoughts, actions, behaviors and language out into the open that a sober mind would normally keep closed off from the world.

If you get drunk, curse a guy and deck him in the jaw, you merely exhibited the inner you that stays locked away until the drink of your choice has clouded you.

What about a guy who sometimes beats his wife, but only because he has had too much to drink. That’s a load of manure. He is a wife-beater all the time, he just does it when he’s liquored up really good.

A man who shoots his neighbor in a dispute over something that has been brewing for a while is the same scenario. He already hated the guy and wanted to plug a slug into him, it just took the booze to get him to squeeze the trigger.

I knew a girl in college who would, literally, every weekend, get smashed on beer and have sex with random guys. Come Monday mornings, she would always regret her actions and say “I wouldn’t have slept with that guy if I wasn’t drunk.”

The fact is, she was a girl with loose morals who enjoyed anonymous, carefree sex. It merely took intoxication to allow her to get the party started.

I knew a guy in college who had gotten so drunk on three occasions he had some form of sex with another man. It had to be the fault of the numerous shots of tequila, right? Sorry you old sot, you really, deep down inside someplace, wanted to have relations with men or it wouldn’t have happened. And by the way, if you were so shocked at your behavior and ashamed of your same-sex fling, why the heck did you tell so many people about it at that party? Oh I remember, you were drunk and that’s the only reason you opened your mouth about it. Wrong again sport. You wanted us to know about the instances.

What about all the old tales of people getting drunk and wearing lampshades on their heads while dancing around at a party? A guy like that really wants to dance with a lampshade on his head all the time, he just needs liquor to let his awkward ballet be free.

I have said some terrible things to people I love when drunk. I would honestly say those were feelings I had for a long time and decided to spew them out because my inner dialogue was turned off from the booze. It’s like a truth serum for some people.

My point is simply this, if you’re an experienced boozer, you know the things you do when you’re drunk. So either stop drinking or accept them as part of who you really are.

I, for one, am not proud of it, but know in my heart I’m a creep with a big mouth.


The Miracle Method: A Radically New Approach to Problem Drinking