“If we had to make a bad drug legal, the worst choice was alcohol.” ~ Jordan Peterson
The negative impact that alcohol has on society is staggering, but with growing demand for legal access to mind-expanding and therapeutic recreational drugs like cannabis and psychedelics, more people are exploring life without alcohol.
But so many of us have an insanely difficult time walking away from it and not looking back.
And it’s no wonder.
Booze is deeply embedded into our culture and practically ubiquitous now. Not only that, we live in one of the most stressful, anxiety-inducing times in human history. We’re all struggling to pretend like we have our shit together, but in reality, so many people take benzos that some call this ‘Generation Xanax.’
It’s unsurprising that for people who drink, it seems impossible to enjoy life without alcohol.
In an interesting conversation with comedian Theo Von, Canadian psychology professor and author of 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Jordan Peterson talks about addiction to alcohol, and shares a valuable perspective on why people drink and how they can move beyond it. Peterson is not against alcohol, in fact he says in the video that he enjoys it, but after directly studying the effects of alcohol on the brain, psychology and personality, his perspective is unique.
“The funny thing is, if you’re trying to stop drinking you need something better than alcohol. And alcohol’s pretty good. So you better find something a lot better… You want to figure out something that you’re doing with your life that’s worth not getting drunk and screwing up.”
Instead of asking why people drink too much, he asks what the benefit would be in stopping.
“You might say, why do people drink too much? But if you like alcohol, that’s a stupid question. So why stop? Well, you do stupid things when you’re drunk. You hurt yourself. You compromise your health. It’s really hard on the people around you, you tend to turn into a liar and it screws up your life.”
“It’s like yeah, but it’s pretty fun. Yeah, well it is, but you need something better than that. And what’s better isn’t being straight and not making mistakes… that’s all prohibition… what’s better is you need adventure. You need to get out there and have something to do, and something worth waking up for, and that’s the substitute for the addiction.”
He follows up by pointing out that in reality, the addiction to booze is the substitute the adventure. So many of us are dealing with so much anxiety and so trapped in our routines that the party life romanticized by those like Johnny Cash and Tom Waits is the most accessible adventure for us. And in this regard, alcohol is great fun.
But it screws up your life, so if you really look at what you don’t want in your life, you can develop a picture of what you’re running from. You don’t want to be hung over all the time, or have failed relationships, or lose your job, or end up with cancer or liver disease? Run from that toward the greater adventure of your life.
It’s a unique way of looking at the problem of alcoholism. Replace drinking with something more adventurous that better serves you, then the choice to not drink will be easy.
Watch the full conversation here:
About the Author
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
This article (Jordan Peterson Shares a Powerful Perspective on Alcohol Addiction and How to Beat It) originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Alex Pietrowski and WakingTimes.com.