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Why Do People Start Drinking and Doing Drugs?

January 13, 2013

Has this thought ever run through your brain:

"You know, I would really like to ruin my life. And I'd like to start today!" I hope not. I also hope you'll never ruin your life.

But just in case you were curious how to end up depressed, lonely, miserable, and feeling like death itself — I'll tell you, and please read carefully, this is probably a lot easier than you thought.

Ready? — my personally crafted recipe for a ruined life — it's as simple as one, two, three:

  1. Drink lots of Alcohol
  2. Do Illegal Drugs
  3. Make Friends that have already done numbers 1 and 2.

Yup, that's the big picture.

Ok… no, I don't want you to ruin your life, I don't think anyone does. So I'm not going to keep telling you how. Instead, I'll tell you why. Why some people follow my three step plan to a miserable life. And how some people start down a path that ultimately leads to death.

A lot of them don't realize what they're doing.

Why Do People Start?

Here's my broad answer to this question: People begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol because they want to change something about their lives. Life seems inescapable, and impossible, and substances that can help you "get away" for a while, seem to be the logical solution to your inescapable and impossible life.

But if pursued, drugs and alcohol simply create another problem in your already difficult life. The problem of bills to pay, a job to find, or a family to care for is still there, but on top of that is an addiction that controls everything about you.

Let's get more specific though. Why do people want to change their life situation? Obviously a lot could be said here, but I think there are three main discontentments in our world today that lead to drugs, alcohol, and eventually — addiction (scary stuff).

1. Your Job (or lack of one)

Second only to China, India's workforce consists of nearly 488 million people. However, at least 13 crore are unemployed or underemployed. You don’t need me to tell you that finding good employment in India can often be hard, frustrating, and unsatisfying.

Unemployed Indians stood in a queue at the Employment Exchange Office in Allahabad, Aug. 29. Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press.

A job is the way we survive in this world. It's our source of income, our point of provision, and the "fact of the matter" for many Indians. Work is something that almost everyone has to do to "make it." So when you don’t have a job or a good job, things can get hopeless really fast.

But even for those who have jobs sometimes work can be frustrating, depressing, and (let's be honest) a little boring. Because work can easily become any of these, and because people like to avoid negativity, they will try to escape the reality of work.

And, you guessed it, drugs and alcohol become the ticket to temporary happiness.

2. Your Social Life

This one is true for many young people especially.

When other people are doing something that seems like a good time, we naturally want to join in. And, unfortunately, drugs and alcohol do look like a great time.

Young People Social Drink

Maybe it starts as a dare: "I dare you to sniff that", or "I dare you to shoot that up." Or possibly, it starts as a curiosity for one, and becomes curiosity for more than one. And what was curiosity, becomes a mistake. And then what was a mistake, becomes a lifestyle.

The possibilities of social impact prompting a drug or alcohol problem are endless and dangerous.

Choose your friends carefully.

3. Yourself

Finally, you can be your greatest enemy.

Your curiosity. Your desires. Your ideas about what will make you happy. Your boredom. Your want for more. Your infatuation with satisfaction.

All of these self-inflicted ideas can be dangerous. Each can lead to a drink, or drug.

So have a plan. Know how you are going to avoid drug and alcohol misuse. Know how you are going to save yourself from a ruined life.

Abstain from Alcohol and Drugs

In our culture, it’s incredibly easy to fall into the tight grip addiction. Many drugs have become forms of recreation, and it’s becoming difficult to go anywhere where alcohol isn’t served. So in order to abstain, you have to have a plan.

Engineers need plans to build bridges. Carpenters need a blue print to follow as they construct buildings. Teachers follow lesson plans as they lead the classroom. Just like each of these examples, you need a plan too! A plan to abstain.

Please don't follow my 3 step plan for a ruined life. Rather, create your own plan of abstinence.

  1. Abstinence from alcohol.
  2. Abstinence from Drugs.
  3. Abstinence from wrong friends.

This is a far better three step plan. A plan towards a better and more sustainable life.