Featured Alcohol and it's role in our culture (1 Viewer)

Gudj

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So, there are alot of threads about alcohol on here, and the straightedge thread to.
But this one is to discuss the reasons that alcohol is so prevalent in the traveling culture, and how some of our scenes are even alcohol/drug-centric.

I know alot of us are from shitty situations where drinking at a young age is seen as necessary to escape. Also some of us were just born predisposed to addiction.
There is also the whole 'punk' image, where punks are supposed to drink and fight and be stupid. I figure the majority of us either are or used to be punks, and still have that rebel without a cause attitude. Then I guess there are times where you are bored and alcohol seems like a good idea to pass the time. Peer pressure is an obvious reason to, and can be combined with the others.

A really good friend of mine traveled for a long time drunk, mostly because the first people she met on the road lived that way, and she figured that's how things were.

So, do y'all have any insight as to why this such a huge part of our culture? Or commentary on it? I personally wish it wasn't as popular as it is, and that we would watch out for eachother better than to let our friends be blacked out every night. That being said, I'm not an alcoholic, I don't know what it's like, and I mean no disrespect to folks who are.
 

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M

Mouse

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the way I've always viewed it's prevalence in this subculture is:

it's cheap and we're all generally broke
it's easy to obtain
Helps you sleep when in harsh and uncomfortable conditions
it's entertainment at little to no cost
it's addictive
it makes you feel unnaturally comfortable around strangers

and everyone assumes you gotta drink so you drink.

it's really not only this culture but humanity in general. From squatters to math geeks to frat boys.. drinking is assumed to be part of the main social event.
 
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I have no idea.
I agree with arrow.

how I always justfied is was the road can be boring. waiting sober is crap. spanging sober is crap. riding freight is fun no matter what but while drinking. alright. pretty much we're kind of a culture that has a lot of free time and lack of funds. so.... bum it and drink something.
 
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Hmm...that's worth some thought. It definitely goes way back in the traveler lifestyle.

I'm going to guess that it's at least partly because drinking is so compatible with not keeping a job. I've known guys who said "I don't want a job because then I'd get a paycheck, spend it on booze, and it would fuck up my life." Bumming kept their drinking in moderation. Others who said "If I could just kick this habit I'd go back to wife and kids, but till then I'll travel because they're better off without me." What can you say to that? It makes a lot of sense. Alcoholism sucks!
 

connerR

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I think drinking (and other substance abuse) is the result of personal discontent. I always hear how great it is to be free and on the road, but a lot of times, I hear that from drunks or junkies laying in dirt in the catch out spot for weeks on end. And after talking to a lot of people who have traveled a whole lot more than me, the lifestyle loses it's Hollywood allure after a while.

I think that's why the drinking is so prevalent. You may get into it and drink a lot because it's the punk/rebellious/cool thing to do. But when you've done it long enough, it becomes like a 9-5 day job, and you just drink because there's not much else to do.

I've never been a traveler, though, at least not on the level as most people on this site, so I could be way off the mark. But when this conclusion really hit me was when I was waiting for a Chicago-bound train in West Colton. For a while, I was sharing the underside of a filthy bridge with some kids who were drinking and/or shooting heroin, and the looks in their eyes resonated a certain sadness.
 
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I really don't know why it's so popular in traveling, punk, leftist and anarchist culture.
Maybe we think we're rebelling. From my perspective, drinking is kind of conformity. But our culture is confusing and there's so many mixed messages. "We don't even know what to rebel against" - Eugene Hutz
"advertisers and Rolling Stone will always be happy to tell the new generation what to rebel against," (Kill Your Idols, doc.) in my opinion, sobriety is one of those things we're told to rebel against.

From a political perspective, much of the anarchist population being drunk most of the time is not helping the cause. Reminds me of how the British (I think it was the East India Co.) introduced opium into the Indian population to make them less resistant and easier to control while they were being colonized. Punks, travelers, anarchists and leftists being constantly drunk not only make their ideas and theories easier to dismiss, but keeps them in more in control as well.
I don't see any advantages I suppose. It might pass the time, but I guess I think life should be more than trying to kill time.

Interesting thread!
 
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Gudj

Gudj

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A few people have suggested that since we don't have money, and alcohol is cheap (compared to what?), that we should buy it.
That is illogical unless you include the part about us NEEDING something to get us fucked up, in which case alcohol makes sense as readily available and affordable. But maybe I misunderstood.

christianarchy: I totally agree with everything you said. Aireque has really good arguments for and perspective on radical sobriety, that I wish he would finish writing up and post here. It includes a bit of what you are saying, and new ideas about how alcohol (being a product of agriculture) and dependency on it was one of the main means of forcing previously nomadic peoples into taking part in early civ.

Anyway, I use alcohol, but luckily I am not addicted. Just in case anyone is worried that I am talking down on people, I'm not.
 

hassysmacker

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SO i agree, but I wanna throw out there that alcohol is not completely a product of agriculture, it just became much bigger with the advent of grains, but there are traditional cultures that brew non grain based alcohol, such as wines (fruit based, herb based, etc.). And also plenty of non-civilized peoples grow food, the hunter/gather or civilized myth, is just that, a myth.
 
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Pheonix

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well I don't drink anymore but I used to be a hardcore drunk drinking all day every day. when I was drinking it was mainly out of boredom or to have fun with my friends. with the lifestyle we live it leaves a lot of free time and drinking is a fun and cheap way to pass the time but after awhile it does get old and if you don't quit or at least slow down it will destroy your life. that's what I think anyways I've seen alcohol destroy as many lives as heroin, heroin just destroys a lot faster.
 
M

Mouse

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I think Cock Sparrer put it best
"I smoke because I need to and I drink because there's nothing else to do"

Gudj - a forty is cheaper than a movie ticket, a rented movie, a bus fare in some places, a video game, a meal, a tank of gas, ect. ect. drinking is "cheap excitment" as I like to call it (Stratford Mercenaries coined the phrase and I think it fits)
 

Matt Derrick

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I really don't know why it's so popular in traveling, punk, leftist and anarchist culture.
Maybe we think we're rebelling. From my perspective, drinking is kind of conformity. But our culture is confusing and there's so many mixed messages. "We don't even know what to rebel against" - Eugene Hutz
"advertisers and Rolling Stone will always be happy to tell the new generation what to rebel against," (Kill Your Idols, doc.) in my opinion, sobriety is one of those things we're told to rebel against.

From a political perspective, much of the anarchist population being drunk most of the time is not helping the cause. Reminds me of how the British (I think it was the East India Co.) introduced opium into the Indian population to make them less resistant and easier to control while they were being colonized. Punks, travelers, anarchists and leftists being constantly drunk not only make their ideas and theories easier to dismiss, but keeps them in more in control as well.
I don't see any advantages I suppose. It might pass the time, but I guess I think life should be more than trying to kill time.

Interesting thread!
definitely interesting! i defintiely like what you have to say there, especially about the anarchist community.

christianarchy: I totally agree with everything you said. Aireque has really good arguments for and perspective on radical sobriety, that I wish he would finish writing up and post here. It includes a bit of what you are saying, and new ideas about how alcohol (being a product of agriculture) and dependency on it was one of the main means of forcing previously nomadic peoples into taking part in early civ.
id REALLY like to see this as well, id even like to see it posted as an article on the stp blog. you should tell him i said so!
 
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bmb

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well I don't drink anymore but I used to be a hardcore drunk drinking all day every day. when I was drinking it was mainly out of boredom or to have fun with my friends. with the lifestyle we live it leaves a lot of free time and drinking is a fun and cheap way to pass the time but after awhile it does get old and if you don't quit or at least slow down it will destroy your life. that's what I think anyways I've seen alcohol destroy as many lives as heroin, heroin just destroys a lot faster.
yeah i was the same way. it gets old, you are constantly lethargic, and it really wears and tears on your physical, mental and social well-being, you basically turn into an apathetic, violent selfish asshole, not to mention social interactions become dull without the constant flow of booze around, you actually become more social awkward when you are sober(at least i did).

yeah, i think what everyone said in response to your original question as to why its so prevalent in our sub-culture is out of boredom, something to ease the pain of past experiences(or present situations), and its fun(until ya get the DTs and have your first seizure at 22), being young, dirty and punkrock,etc....

you'd think it would be more revolutionary to be sober as fuck all the time.
 
M

Mouse

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you'd think it would be more revolutionary to be sober as fuck all the time.

yep! I wish I could follow a motto of that sort, but i at least want to get stoned whenever I can. *sgh* that's mostly self-medicating for anxiety and pain though so I don't think it counts.
 
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bananathrash

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i dont know what kind of foul shit you could drink thats cheaper than a burrito.

KICK THE MEDS!
 

slurricane

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personally, i don't drink, i don't find it appealing to flail about like an idiot, getting hurt without knowing what the hell happened, going to jail, pissing yourself, starting moronic fights, getting DT's and numerous other things including the potential risk of getting on a train drunk and FUCKING UP HORRIBLY as many of you know all to well from the friends we've lost
i spend all my skrilla on FOOD and mary jane
to each their own though, it's understood why it's such a big part of this lifestyle, shit knows we sleep in some severely uncomfortable crap, most kids can't afford medications to deal with pain either, that and it makes for great experiences and stories, socialization is key
 
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wildboy860

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I agree with arrow.

how I always justfied is was the road can be boring. waiting sober is crap. spanging sober is crap. riding freight is fun no matter what but while drinking. alright. pretty much we're kind of a culture that has a lot of free time and lack of funds. so.... bum it and drink something.
also drinking makes it easier to talk to the locals to find out needed info about a new town.
 

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