I want us as a society to have a more consistent and healthy relationship with how we handle and address self-medication. Some serious “possibly addiction, certainly not taking seriously one’s reliance on a psychoactive chemical” level commentary and jokes happen daily about coffee.
Think about all the “I’ll literally murder you if you get between me and my coffee in the morning” jokes that people laugh at cause they can relate to. People doing literally that for drugs is what motivated the Controlled Substances Act and the “war on drugs”.
Overuse of alcohol is a weird swirl of “this is awful and causes people to act badly”, “being a lightweight is status-destroying weakness”, “just be responsible obviously”, and “today sucked so drinking a whole bottle of wine is fine”.
I don’t have any simple or clean solutions: brain-chemistry is a hell of a drug, and social norms are not easy to break.
However, I think a lot more consistency about how we medicate, both in perspective and dialogue, would help us live more healthy lives, as well as better understand the struggles and reasons of people fighting with drug addiction. Fewer bright lines between franzia, prescription pharmaseuticals, and starbucks, and more balanced behavior when it comes to mind-altering substances.
Plus, you’re more likely to honesty deal with and understand your relation to coffee or wine if you honestly look at it as if you’re self medicating, instead of ignoring the behavior entirely.