Society has normalized alcohol to the point that we are all expected to take this mind altering drug as a normal part of life. If you don’t drink, people respond with the same incredulity reserved for serial killers or arsonists. You don’t drink? How strange that you value your health, sanity and living a life unimpaired. Drinking alcohol is such an unhealthy symptom of our world; it can feel like swimming against the current for those who don’t drink.

Despite alcohol being addictive and dangerous, people normalize its consumption in a way that would never be tolerated with other drugs. You wouldn’t hear at (most) family dinners: “Let’s blow a line with appetizers”, “Would you like some meth with your turkey”, or “How about a couple Oxys for dessert?” At a holiday party, after explaining I don’t drink because I am an alcoholic, someone said to me, “But you can have a drink because it’s Christmas!” I didn’t bother to explain that a Christmas drink or 20 wasn’t worth crashing my car, getting raped, or having my liver explode.

Because alcohol is so ubiquitous in our society, recovering from alcohol addiction is extremely difficult. Alcohol is a hard drug that acts as a social lubricant. The pressure to drink alcohol is stronger than the pressure to consume any other drug, even pharmaceuticals. Drinking alcohol is as socially acceptable as drinking coffee or water, but it remains a drug: an addictive drug with deadly consequences.