Our Culture of Alcohol Glorification

shutterstock_307340333When a drug addict comes out of recovery, having undergone treatment for narcotics or opiates, the struggle to stay clean is real.  However, at least for these addictions the culture around you supports your abstinence because these drugs are usually illegal to buy or possess and use is often frowned upon by the majority of society.  For alcoholics, however, there is a whole other story.

America glorifies alcohol consumption in ways no other culture comes close. There is a common understanding that everyone drinks, often to excess, and that his is not only normal and acceptable, but often expected. A wide range of social situations and encounters are precipitated on the consumption of alcohol to get to know someone or have a good time.  This can be seen in a range of scenes in daily life, including the following:

 Meeting up with Friends

It’s almost a staple of a good time that you go out for drinks when you want to be with friends.  This goes for twenty-somethings up through seasoned mature adults.  It’s woven into the fabric of fun, the idea that you need to drink and get a bit tipsy to loosen up and enjoy yourself.  This cultural programming is difficult to undo and friends of recovering alcoholics often forget that he/she can’t join them for these kinds of outings, making it difficult for those in recovery to maintain close personal ties.\


There is an assumption in the dating market that a prospective couple should bond over the disinhibiting libations of alcohol at a local bar or restaurant.  Dance clubs and others venues for flirting and sexual opportunity naturally assume the consumption of alcohol and glorify it as a way to cut loose and relate.

Business Meetings

Even in the sober, sensible circles of modern business there is a cultural tradition of bonding over a drink.  It can be difficult for a recovering alcoholic to save face in situations where meeting a client might traditionally call for the sharing of alcoholic beverages.

Advertising and Media

The glorification of alcohol is the most noticeable and pervasive in our rampant marketing protocols in this country where slick commercials, catchy tunes, and giant billboards seem to paint a picture of an idealized world made better by grabbing a cold one.  


It seems to be a rite of passage for the American University student to ritually get bombed every weekend. From keg parties at the local frat house to “college night” at the bars all along the downtown strip, we assume that college goes hand in hand with binge drinking and almost expect this kind of behavior from our youth.

The American love affair with booze runs deep and it’s hard to ignore. This makes for a world full of temptation for the recovering alcoholic and contributes to the high rates of alcoholism as a condition.

In a culture where alcohol is glamorous and celebrated, it’s more important than ever for those in recovery to regularly attend meetings, stick together, and structure their lives around avoiding the temptations to drink.

If you need help getting a handle on your alcoholism, lean on the addiction treatment programs available at Lead Treatment Center.  Call us at 800.380.0012 for a consultation.