For most of my life I believed that alcohol was separate and distinct from other drugs. Being that drinking is legal and a social activity for the most part, that assessment seems accurate. Our culture protects the consumption of alcohol with euphemisms in an effort to mask the uncomfortable notion that drinkers are drug users. It’s not addiction, it’s alcoholism. It’s not getting high, it’s getting drunk. It’s not an overdose, it’s alcohol poisoning. It’s not withdrawal, it’s a hangover. It’s not a drug dealer, it’s a liquor store. But alcohol has the second highest rate in preventable deaths (tobacco is the first), which is higher than all the other drugs combined, including opiates. Drinkers don’t want to think of themselves as drug users, but that is exactly what they are. And for an addict like myself, making that distinction can lead to disastrous results.

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