Intoxicants have been a part of the human culture centuries and ages; the use of these were generally in religious context at first, but gradually made its way to the commercial markets. The drinking culture as we know it today, has had its fair share of modifications and still vary from the different regions spread across the globe. By the research conducted in Northern China, in the sights of the Neolithic village Jiahu in Henan shows the existence of fermented beverages, which was determined by the chemical analysis of the pottery found at the sight; Jiahu of Henan existed about 9000 years ago, this was also the time when the barely beer and grape wine were introduced in the Middle East.
We acknowledge its presence as an intoxicant and a harmful substance if consumed in excess, however the use of these ‘liquid drugs’ does not limit to a beverage with meals, but in fact the use of the spirits were crucial and probably still are in the medical fields. In every culture of the past and the present these spirits have played a part as medicine, an everyday and an occasional drink. There are certain religious beliefs that preach abstinence against alcohol, while there are other faiths which promote it as sacred in tradition and rituals conducted by them. The youth today have also a different outlook to it; the majority of the youth is in favour of it, simply due to the high that kicks in after consuming alcohol.
The Drinking Culture is peculiar and different, in the different regions across the world as mentioned above. Other than its prehistoric existence drinking has always had a sacredness to it, it has been parts of most of the celebrations and been a great social promoter. The Irish drinking culture is filled with merry songs sung around every table in the pub with a beer in the hand and a friend by the side; the Scottish have had beer produced since 5000 years; the rich Italian culture of architecture and art, consumed wine which was depicted in many paintings from that era; Japan in the Asian continent had rice wine and so on.
Alcohol has always considered being a nuisance generally in the eyes of people from high-moral grounds, who are against substances which dull the senses; but it is the high provided by its consumption that people look for, many long to numb their senses through it, to block out the harsh poisons that disseminate everyday around them. There is a quote that has been mentioned several times which says, “Some drink to remember, some drink to forget”, pointing towards people with two feelings one who reminisces with a drink, while another who tries to bury the bad past in bottles of the ‘liquid drugs’. Even though the current studies disapprove of consumption of alcohol in a state of depression, the earlier cultures and faiths recommended alcohol for the depressed; these methods are still in practice today, not with the recommendation of medical physicians but by a budding friend who in attempt to fight your blues, takes you to knock down a cold one.
The negatives of this habit, are sometimes fatal to not only you but people at large. There have been numerous cases of DUIs i.e. drunk driving which sometimes have had fatal consequences to it. When you consume an intoxicant to supress your numb your pains you form a habit, these lead for the person to become an Alcoholic, they start to use alcohol as a cure for all the troubles they face; DUIs, domestic abuse and overdose on controlled substances, are the result of this addiction which is something that we consciously need to avoid. There have been institutions who help people fight this disease, AA or Alcoholic Anonymous is one NGO which works for the welfare of those who find themselves addicted to alcohol or any other controlled substance.
“Alcohol is the anesthesia by which we endure the operation of life.” – George Bernard Shaw. Misconceptions often prevail in the presence of stubbornness and ignorance; the dangers in consumption of liquor are clear and fatal, however a ban to it will not make it non-existent and nor will it improve situations. This would be a case of banning a vital medicine because a few people have an allergic reaction to it or their body is unable to contain it; I know it is immoral or wrong to compare a medicine to an intoxicant; but alcohol is more than just an intoxicant, it is part of a social convention, that has developed it into a culture which is celebrated with dulled senses and a carefree attitude, oblivious to the hatred, to the filth and the greedy politicians who dish out false promises and lure us in their favour. We see what we want to see, and sometimes we are manipulated by people who work for their own goals; if we see it as a taboo, it will be one, but if we see the reality of it, it is our assumptions that are doing the real damage. We do not have to live in total abstinence, but choose a path which can maintain a balance of the negatives and positives of it.