Recently, we came across a T-Shirt sold by the brand “Express,” and we have something to say about it.
The shirt reads:
“I Have No Drinking Problem.
I Drink, I Get Drunk, I Fall Down.
Hey Express, we’ve actually got a problem. One with alcohol, AND with this shirt.
Alcohol is a serious issue, it ruins lives, families, and homes all across the country, and this t-shirt is not okay. There are those of us who have actually LIVED this t-shirt, and we didn’t usually look as great as that model does doing it. There are 15 million people that struggle with alcohol on a daily basis. Alcohol is the world’s most popular drug, and no matter how different people may be, alcoholism affects us all in the same ways. Globally, about four percent of deaths are attributed to alcohol, which is more people than AIDS kills.
The Stigma Is Alive
What messages are we sending when society glamorizes problems like this? Do they think it’s okay to poke fun at or to normalize these types of issues on a t-shirt? How many people would buy this shirt if it showed the model buying a bottle of liquor alone, taking it home, and actually falling down and passing out? This problem takes the lives of people everyday. There are more than 15 million people that struggle with alcohol use disorder in the United States, but less than eight percent receive treatment. That’s EIGHT percent. The stigma of asking for help and receiving treatment is still alive. More than 65 million Americans have reported binge drinking in the past month, which is more than 40 percent of total current alcohol users.
One Facebook user even decided to write an open letter to the company:
My name is Sarah Ordo. I am the author of the book “Sober as Fuck.” I am a 29 year old that had/has an ACTUAL drinking problem. A problem that destroyed most of my teenage years and most of my twenties as well. A problem that had my mother up all night, every night calling me wondering where I was and if I was alive for over a decade. A problem that had my lifeless body handed to my parents on their front porch on multiple occasions. A problem that led to destroyed relationships and friendships. A problem that led to bloody wounds, reckless mistakes, and dangerous situations countless times. A problem that led to rock bottoms so low, that the things that have happened to me while in a blacked out state are things I wish that no woman had to go through and have happen to her. A problem that landed me in the Emergency Room three years ago hooked up to more IVs and sensors than I could count. A problem that almost destroyed EVERYTHING for me. A problem that almost took my LIFE.
The Media’s Influence
While in today’s media age, we are saturated by images and messages designed to influence our attitudes, and often times, they want to sell us a “lifestyle” based on an idealized image of what our lives would be like if we used their products. If the model showed what the shirt actually states, maybe some would grasp the nature of this progressive disease that is being glamorized and sold on a t-shirt.
Additionally, there’s another type of glamorization of alcohol – the attitudes of our families and friends, which indeed does normalize substance abuse influenced by the media. There are people who associate alcohol use with fun and excitement. While yes, there was excitement of liquor for some alcoholics for a time, it ended up in a dark and desperate place, and for some it’s coupled with brief near-death encounters.
Glamorization of alcohol creates an unrealistic portrayal of it’s role in a happy and successful life. Alcohol is killing people, and the glamorization of this needs to change.