It’s the drug, “Ethanol,” the intoxicating ingredient of alcoholic beverages. Ethanol and alcohol are two different names for the same thing. There are other types of alcohol, but ethanol is the only one you can drink. Ethanol is what we put in our gas tanks to drive our cars. It is also used as a solvent, a powerful chemical that is used to dissolve other substances. What happens if you drink ethanol without diluting it? Painful tissue damage and irritation occur. Strong ethanol is extraordinarily harsh and will irritate and annoy soft tissues in your mouth, throat, esophagus, and stomach. Even small quantities will be extremely unpleasant and harmful. Can you survive it? Probably, but not without terrible and immediate consequences. Ethanol must be diluted. The “proof” of alcohol means that a 100-proof beverage is 50% ethanol and the rest water and some impurities leftover from the distilling process.
Winemakers ferment grapes or other products to produce ethanol. The grape skins give the wine color. Manufacturers of alcoholic beverages dilute their ethanol with water and put in flavors, scent, and coloring. When you pop the cork in champagne, yeasts ferment sugars and form carbon dioxide gas that produces bubbles. They give their beverages exotic names and they package them in beautiful, different shaped bottles with charming labels and elegant boxes. They spend billions in advertising to get you to use their products. What are they all selling? Ethanol. It’s what gives you the euphoric feeling of being high. That’s why you spend lots of money on their products. If you believe otherwise, take out the ethanol and see how much you will pay for the same product.
Used moderately, ethanol adds enjoyment to a meal, stimulates conversation, has a relaxing effect, and lowers inhibitions. Used to excess—it kills—eventually; and, it’s a nasty death. Our early ancestors probably began ingesting ethanol eighty million years ago when they ate rotting fruit that had started to ferment. We have been at it ever since. The difference is that now we know how to extract the ethanol and don’t need to eat the bugs and dirt our ancestors had to deal with.
The main problem with drinking alcoholic beverages is that ethanol lowers your “stop” mechanism, your ability to say, “No,” when you’ve had enough. Your good judgment is impaired, turning you into a person of poor judgement and a danger to yourself and anyone around you. You probably know through experience that alcohol lowers your inhibitions. You’ll do things and say things and make mistakes under the influence of alcohol that you wouldn’t while sober. In the same way that alcohol lowers your inhibitions, it reduces your ability to stop. That’s why many people drink to black-out.
Alcohol was never a problem for me other than the fact that I would sometimes get drunk and do stupid things, like flying a plane or driving a car while intoxicated. However, about twenty years ago, after Pax stopped drinking and drugging, I stopped out of respect for Pax. That was one of the best decisions of my life. I developed a clarity over the years that have been a significant enhancement in my life, and it put me in control of my actions, using my best judgment all the time. I encourage you to do the same. The rewards are better than you can imagine. Being sober is a natural part of life.