Altering Our Reality with Alcohol

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Several months ago, I heard the news that the U.S. had surpassed France for total wine consumption.  At the time, I reflected on the way that wine has experienced such an explosion of popularity and acceptance in our culture.  I first noticed it on television shows in which characters began to downplay their wine drinking, almost referring to it as non-alcoholic in nature, “just wine.”  I’m never sure of which comes first, the art as a reflection of life or if the influence is the other way around.

Not surprisingly, the reality television industry is cashing in and rapidly developing shows not only around alcohol, but also marijuana.  With the legalization of marijuana either for medical use or recreational use in 23 states and the District of Columbia, use of the drug has become much more socially acceptable.  Similar to wine being “just wine,” it is “just weed.”  Marijuana is gaining ground fast as pointed out by The New York Times article, “Travelogue Cocktails With Reality Chaser.”  Several TV shows and internet podcasts center around the use or selling of the drug.

Still, new shows about alcohol abound with some stealing competitive angles from other reality shows.  “Barmageddon” takes two barkeeps with opposite clientele and has them switch places.  Whether we’re watching reality shows about alcohol or marijuana, the truth is these substances alter the user’s reality.  There are many shades of addiction, and I’m not suggesting that any use leads to an appearance on “Intervention,“ a reality show depicting, you guessed it, interventions with individuals well into their addiction cycle.  Using substances affects our relationships with others, but it has the biggest impact on our relationship with self.  I think it’s helpful for us to look at the motivation behind our use of substances.  Are we feeling social anxiety?  Are we sad?  Are we happy, but want to feel even happier?  If your life were a reality show, what kind would it be?

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