Alcohol, bad; 'shrooms, good. Word on the street now is that alcohol is far and away more harmful than drugs like heroin and crack. Mushrooms are considered the least harmful (maybe because hippies and ravers are generally asleep when the rest of us are out and about).
Guess the Proposition 19 voters didn't get this bit of news in time. Oh, well.
Not only is alcohol a legal drug, it's an accepted part of adult life. No one is shooting up at the playgroup's monthly Mom's Night Out (unless you have a very dysfunctional playgroup), but it's almost certain there will be a bottle of wine of two consumed. And as ridiculous as the recent study that comes to this startling revelation seems, it's true that drinking can cause problems well short of alcoholism.
So how can you ensure your evening glass of wine doesn't become a major issue that falls short of clinical intervention? A lot of these may seem blatantly obvious, but bear repeating because ... I mean well ... look how many people ignore them.
No driving, ever. If you're going to drink, do so at home, be prepared to call a cab, or appoint a designated driver. Buzzed driving is the same as drunk driving, as the advertising campaign goes. The legal limit in most states is .08 blood alcohol by volume, but steering, tracking, and visual control is impaired at a much lower level, a level you can reach after just one or two glasses of wine over two hours.
Don't drink when you're taking care of your kids. The occasional glass of wine with dinner is OK, but having more than one or pouring it while you're watching Dora is a crappy example to your kids.
Be aware of aftereffects. You may never drink to the point of being hung over, but even one or two glasses of wine can affect your sleep badly. That in turn leads to a much shorter fuse and general fogginess the next day.
Think about your consumption. It's okay to enjoy a glass of wine, beer, or a cocktail. It's one of the pleasures of being a grownup. But if that drink is the highlight of your day, if you start out intending to just have one and end up passed out on the couch, or if the thought of stopping makes you so nervous you can't stand it, then you may just have a drinking problem. If you do, you're not alone, and there is a ton of help out there.
Is alcohol worse than crack?
Image via Paul Aloe/Flickr