My Anti-Drug Is AlcoholCommentary • education • Opinion • trends • alcohol • drugs • ISSUE 37•27 • Aug 8, 2001 By Bobby Branch Bobby Branch If you're a kid growing up these days, sooner or later, someone's going to offer you drugs. "Go ahead, try some of these," they'll say. "They'll make you feel great. Come on, everybody's doing it. Don't you want to be cool?" People have told me all these things and plenty more, but I just tell them to buzz off. I tell them I don't need drugs to get high or be cool: I can do it with alcohol, my anti-drug. The pushers who hang around the playground behind my school are always going on about the amazing high you get from drugs. But I don't see how it can compare to the pure, natural, 100 percent legal high I get from drinking alcohol. Who needs the artificial escape drugs provide when a good, stiff belt of Jim Beam or José Cuervo can put your head in the clouds while keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground? Sure, at first, drugs may make you feel pretty good. But it's not real. Before long, you're using more and more, even as you're feeling worse and worse. Then, other things will start going wrong for you, too: Your friends won't seem to hang around you anymore, and you'll have new friends who only care about the drugs. Your grades will start to slip. Your memory will go. And your health will fade. All because of drugs. Don't take that risk: Find something healthy, like alcohol, to take the place of drugs in your life. So, the next time you feel the urge to smoke some marijuana, try reaching for a big bottle of Bacardi instead. The sneaky thing about drugs is how they make you feel like everything's okay when it's not. Drugs alter the way you perceive things. They change the way you behave and cause you to lose control of yourself. Who wants that? I don't know about you, but I like being in control of my actions. That's why, whenever I feel tempted to wander down the wrong road, I pour myself a nice, stiff drink, thanking my lucky stars that I've got alcohol, my personal anti-drug. Why would anyone in their right mind want to get "stoned" or "fried"? I'd rather spend my time engaged in more constructive activities, like "wetting my whistle," "liquoring up," or "filling myself with liquid courage." You know, positive things. With alcohol, the glass is always half full. (When it isn't completely full, that is.) Now, maybe you don't care for alcohol. That's okay. What's not okay, though, is getting hooked on an addictive, controlled substance like pot, cocaine, or heroin. Find a healthy substitute, something you can get really into, something that can be your anti-drug. It could be anything: Learn to play blackjack or the ponies. Explore kleptomania. Have sex with an endless parade of random strangers. Anything that makes you feel good, as long as it isn't drugs. It's your life, and you have to learn to make your own choices. But choosing drugs? That's no choice at all. Nothing beats the adrenaline rush that comes from knowing you're drug-free. And, if you're drug-free, you're free, period. I like that feeling, and I like myself. I'm high on life, because I'm high on alcohol, my anti-drug.