Day 122: Can’t alcohol be a physical problem?

Continuing on from yesterday. I discussed this with my wife this morning. She was less sure that alcohol abstention was seen as a moral issue, but I’m pretty sure it is.

If I say to somebody “I can’t eat nuts,” that’s a pretty value-neutral statement. Nobody makes assumptions about the lifestyle of somebody who can’t eat nuts.

If I say to somebody “I can’t drink alcohol,” that’s a tremendously loaded statement. Hell, if somebody says to me, “I can’t drink alcohol,” I start making assumptions, and I don’t drink alcohol. 

I don’t often rail about “society”. This is pretty much a space for me to focus on my own shit, and getting into what’s wrong with the world is out of scope. Getting irate about what’s wrong with the world has been an excuse for me not to focus on what I could be doing better in the past.


We really do need to move to a space where alcohol can be recognized as a physical problem. And yes, it’s complicated, and there’s lots of compelling “it’s physical! It’s psychological!” back and forth on the issue. But the sheer simple fact of being able to say “hey, you! Your body wasn’t made for alcohol. It messes you up. Don’t have it.” in the same way that we can say “Hey, you! Your body wasn’t made for dairy. It makes you farty and sick. Don’t have it.” would make things so much easier for people who live doing the “can I drink? Can I drink a little?” dance.

Complicating matters: alcohol intolerance is real; alcohol allergies are rare but real. But “alcohol makes you crazy” is still in the physical/psychological swamp.

It’s really a framing thing. “Gosh, I shouldn’t drink” is a weak statement. “I can’t drink because my brain chemistry isn’t the same as yours” is a stronger statement.

I straight up don’t know enough about this. Time to hit the books, I guess…