Alohol: the good, the bad and the ugly

Hope and Happiness


The Good

A cool drink is so refreshing and mellowing on a hot day! It melts away the busyness of the day. It’s a great relaxant after a stressful day at work. It’s the universal social lubricant when people get together for fun or celebration.

It also helps you postpone having to face present realities like an unhappy marriage, a dead-end job or feelings of guilt about something you’ve done … or not done. Alcohol can help you keep past traumas in the background, rather than in-your-face. 

In general, alcohol helps to reduce fear, the universal emotion underlying all other negative emotions.

Stats Canada estimated that drinking was responsible for saving over 2,500 lives in 2006.




The Bad

Drinking alcohol is an isolating activity. 

With drink, talking increases and listening decreases. Genuine communication and intimacy all but disappear. As time passes your drinking reduces your emotional connections to your spouse and family. Family needs are neglected.

Alcohol can kill you in 60 different ways. With ongoing overuse of alcohol, there is increased risk of deteriorating health and death. My daughter enjoyed her alcohol. She worked and she stayed married, but she died suddenly at 51 when her organs gave out.

Alcohol impairment begins with the first sip, and the first casualty is usually your judgment. You rapidly become less able to judge your level of impairment. This could lead to a decision to get behind the wheel. Sober, you could probably handle a difficult life situation, but impaired, you attempt suicide. Alcohol is involved in a very large proportion of suicides.

Ongoing alcohol overuse, whether via daily drinking or weekend excess, can lead to becoming alcohol dependent, that is, becoming an alcoholic.

Stats Canada estimated that drinking was responsible for over 9,000 deaths in 2006.




The Ugly

“But I can’t help it.” “Alcohol runs in my family.” “My wife doesn’t understand me.” “I have a chronic disease called alcoholism.” “My life sucks, so it’s my only pleasure.” “It’s not my fault.” “She made me do it.” “We were just having fun.” “I’m a functioning alcoholic, so there’s no problem.” “I was okay, but the cop was out to get me.” “No one can help me.” “But everybody drinks.” “I work and support us, so my drinking is your problem, not mine.”

The alcoholic, from the high functioning alcoholic professional to the skid row alcoholic, has every excuse in the book for continuing to live as a victim of life, rather than taking charge. The thought of not being a victim is loaded with fear for the alcoholic. 

The alcoholic who refuses to give up victimhood is saying in effect, “If I were to stop drinking and really clean up my life, I would have to give up all this ‘poor me’ stuff and take responsibility for my attitudes, feelings, emotions, beliefs and behaviors. I would have to make a lot of choices and changes, and the thought of all that at my age (30? 70?) is terrifying. It’s easier to just stay a victim of life. Where’s the beer?”




You can reach Registered Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill for an appointment at 250-752-8684 or through his website


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