Why do people drink? I was sitting in Lauren’s bed (shaking things up round here…), with Fiona snoring at my feet and contemplating this important question at 5 AM. The first thing that popped to my mind when this burning inquiry woke me was – advertising. People drink because they are influenced. So I went to the internet and searched HISTORY OF ALCOHOL USE.
The Social Issues Research Center says (READ these – it only takes a moment and it’s kind of amazing even though the name of the organization and undoubtedly the entire staff is a yawner…):
- Alcohol has played a central role in almost all human cultures since Neolithic times (about 4000 BC). All societies, without exception, make use of intoxicating substances, alcohol being by far the most common.
- There is convincing evidence that the development of agriculture – regarded as the foundation of civilisation – was based on the cultivation of grain for beer, as much as for bread.
- The persistence of alcohol use, on a near-universal scale, throughout human evolution, suggests that drinking must have had some significant adaptive benefits, although this does not imply that the practice is invariably beneficial.
- From the earliest recorded use of alcohol, drinking has been a social activity, and both consumption and behaviour have been subject to self-imposed social controls.
- Attempts at prohibition have never been successful except when couched in terms of sacred rules in highly religious cultures.
As the sun comes up on another hot day in Florida, I’m thinking something else. I’m thinking, “Congratulations, sober people!” Because the ugly, unfair truth for recovering alcoholics is that even though HUMAN KIND is compelled to drink, we can’t. And we don’t.