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Margaret Moschak writes about what it’s like to live with an alcoholic husband in My Alcoholic, My Love, but why do people drink alcohol in the first place?

Before we go on to talk about why people tend to reach for alcohol, it is first important to know what alcohol even is. 

So, what is alcohol?

Alcohol is a substance with psychoactive properties that are commonly consumed either via beer, wine, or spirits; it is made primarily by the fermentation of sugar, yeast, and starches. The depressant quality of alcohol comes from ethanol, which promptly affects the central nervous system and leads to altered moods, impaired judgments, and a damaging reduction in coordination. 

When consumed, alcoholic substances are absorbed by the stomach, and the small intestine, where it enters the blood and is processed in the liver. However, the liver has too small a capacity to quickly handle large amounts of alcohol–and when this happens, the alcohol that is still left outside the liver affects the body for too long.

The effects of alcohol vary, and it depends on how much of the substance is being consumed, how much an individual can tolerate the substance, the conditions surrounding the consumption of the substance, and the specifics of the substance itself. 

While there are positive studies on the health benefits of drinking alcohol moderately, the dangers of excessively drinking alcohol are varied and wide-reaching; these consequences include liver damage, addiction, and increased risk of accidents and injuries.

Therefore, alcohol consumption should be done in moderation and responsibly.

So, why do people drink alcohol? 

There is a medley of reasons why an individual might partake in alcohol. Whether or not they do so is highly dependent on factors that are unique to them, from genetic causes to social considerations. Isolating them all down to one thing that we confidently say is the sole determining factor for any one person is impossible. Yet, it is important to note there are overlapping reasons that can be examined.


People love to indulge in their desires. This means that “having fun” is a key motivating factor when it comes to people who drink alcohol, either frequently or infrequently. While alcohol is mainly a depressant, it also lowers people’s inhibitions and unshackles them of their stiffness. Drinking alcohol in any amount prompts people to feel happier, more relaxed, and friendlier. This is especially the case when drinking with good friends or drinking because of a happy event.

But because alcohol is primarily a depressant, continued consumption eventually leads to diminished positivity.


Because of alcohol’s depressive and sedative effects, it makes for a very helpful substance in alleviating stress and other emotions of negativity. Initial consumption of alcohol generally leads to a more comfortable and more relaxed mood. For people who are overwhelmed with stress and anxiety, alcohol is most often the most accessible and cheapest solution to cope. 

However, the more one consumes alcohol; the more its effects are lessened, which leads to more consumption of the substance simply to level out the desired results.

The use of alcohol to cope with stress and other negative emotions also blocks the drinker from discovering other healthy ways of how to deal with stress.


Drinking is a very effective way of dealing with isolation and solitude. This is because, again, of alcohol’s sedative effects, which severely dampen any strong emotions. When people have intense feelings of insulation from broader society, they feel very intensely and often don’t have the means or outlets to vent out.

Some people who experience isolation are also the kinds of people who are in desperate need of companionship–and in their thinking, due in part to mass media, they believe that drinking alcohol will help them become more charismatic or appealing to strangers (this is only true if you already have those qualities, to begin with).

But if you drink alcohol, those negative emotions are more likely to be exaggerated.


One of the more life-changing events that any individual can experience is the loss of a loved one, either a family or a friend. This, more often than not, induces particularly strong feelings in someone, which may compel them to partake in alcohol or other substances that help dampen their intense emotions. While this is alright when done moderately, it quickly becomes destructive without a formidable will to rein in one’s impulses.

Do you want to know more about how it is to live with an alcoholic husband? Read Margaret Moschak’s My Alcoholic, My Love for a more intimate understanding of things.

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