Culture of Drinking

The culture of drinking permeates our society
The media and peers pressure to alleviate sobriety
Messages converge and conflict to create confusion:
designed by purveyors and marketers to create the illusion
That alcohol is the key to enhance life’s experiences
That beer, wine or drink is a must in all circumstances
To celebrate, commiserate or punctuate each time
a social gathering is planned, a well-stocked bar is prime
Raise your glass, give a toast, down a shot, it’s expected
Not interested? All protests and excuses are rejected
because drinkers can’t handle it, they get uncomfortable and nervous
When there’s a holdout, they relentlessly press him into service
to fill his glass with something stronger than water or carbonation
so they don’t have to face the mirror for succumbing to their own temptation
Instead they hide behind the false camaraderie
created by a bottle instead of shared history

For many who believe the hype, it follows them back home
so pervasively throughout the media is the image shown
they start by drinking with others — pretty soon they drink alone
even those who have it buried deep within their genes
who’ve had blackouts, loss of speech and a host of other things
fool themselves into believing that the disease can’t touch them
even as they ignore the pain and grief that others will condemn
But for the few who’ve battled and been scarred
every day is a constant struggle against the bombard
of images, words and pressure
trying to make them something lesser
than what they’re striving so hard to become
to sail above rather than to stay numb
one day at a time, that is their prayer
for salvation from the demons that stare
trying to seduce them into falling from grace,
laboring constantly and tirelessly to erase
the ebb, flow and pull of addiction pulsing through their veins
or the sight of a loved one trying to throw off those chains

Jody L. Barilla
© 3/15/09



Not easy to retrain your brain from “we” to “I”
After a lifetime of eating the whole pie
Already come from different planets, Venus and Mars
Then sprinkle these pronouns among the stars
It is a concept that transcends the grammatical
And operates to append the compatible
To learn to factor two not one in the equation
And include another in the conversation
Creating a dialogue
Translating the monologue
To share an equality of vision
And walk together on the same mission
Transforming the drum beat of two separate hearts
Into the base heat of souls refusing to be torn apart
The path will be rocky with hidden pits and cracks
But “we” can offer the support that “I” otherwise lacks


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