Okay, I promise, this will be the last time I talk about how much I hate alcohol. Yeah, yeah, I know the rule about not shoving your ideas into other people's heads, and I have thought about it, and have came up with this balanced view. Read on.
First - some facts.
Alcohol is a drug. Alcohol has something called ethanol in it, which is a drug - a depressant. Here is what it does (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethanol#Effect_on_humans):
50 Euphoria, talkativeness, relaxation
100 Central nervous system depression, impaired motor and sensory function, impaired cognition
>140 Decreased blood flow to brain
300 Stupefaction, possible unconsciousness
400 Possible death
So, it is mainly euphoria - a sense of happiness. But another way of saying happiness is... the lack of sadness. (Just like the glass that is half full/half empty.)
That leads me to the idea that alcohol is therefore a painkiller! Just like paracetamol, alcohol gets rid of your mental pain.
So IMO, choosing not to drink is perfectly justified and needs no question, because it's just like saying NO to drugs and cigarettes.
Plus, something I looked up says that when you drink heavily, the cells in your brain get smaller due to dehydration - that's why you get the need to go to the toilet so often! When you uptake water again, the cells return to normal - and this is called a hangover!
But what's interesting is that I read the damage to these cells holding the brain to the skull is temporary, but the recovering process of the nerve-cell structure of the dendrites is permanent.
Haha. So I thought I could win you over just by stating that fact. No. The next stage is to try and say what this means in the real world. I'm starting to hit the philosophical borderlines of Atheism and Nihilism now... Do you want to preserve your body as much as possible? Do you want to make yourself stronger by going through pain? Do you want to test your body to the limits? Does it really matter? Do you need to "keep everything in moderation" - or does it actually matter in the end because you will die anyway so what's the difference? Is the difference the influence and change you bring about the world - based upon the choices you make? Such as the people who you bought the alcohol from, the people who look up to you, your parents etc? Are they the lasting result of you? And in that way should you lead the best life in order to make a "good" influence on them? What is "good", surely that knocking down a few buildings would be good for the world overall (see "Fight Club" then come back here).
I suppose an easier way of putting all that is just - "do you really wanna fuck up your body and your brain? do you actually care?"
Let's summarise everything then. We've got our bad reasons - such as health effects and drink driving - good points such as spreading influence via money, forming communities and some good health effects. Now let me contradict myself -
Alcohol does obviously cause a lot of death. Does that then mean that alcohol is good, because we are finding another way of keeping the population down?
But why do we need to keep the population down? To stop increasing taxes, pressure on public services and demand for resources?
This reminds me of something on Al Murray's MySpace - "Alcohol - the reason many of us are here!"
Okay. That's enough. So where are we standing now? I suppose I will just have to live with the fact that people like to drink alcohol, and all the while, I can just remind myself that people aren't actually drinking alcohol, they're taking drugs. For everyone else, all I can say is, cheers!