FEBRUARY 20, 2017
When government chooses which addictions are OK

Governments have me brainwashed. Telling us when we can and can’t do things for so many years has me convinced when I do something outside their rule that it is wrong. But then I think about what they allow us to do on their terms and it doesn’t make sense to me.

The first time I felt this way was in Mexico a few years ago. I was going on what is called a “booze cruise” and Jell-o shooters were handed out at 10 a.m. There I was the big prude saying to myself, “It’s too early. You shouldn’t drink until 11 a.m. You can’t do this. It is wrong.” Quickly I got over that feeling.

Even though I was far away from home it still felt weird to have a drink before the time we are programmed to believe it is OK. Why are we programmed like that? Usually because that is the approved time to order a drink at a restaurant. Outside of those set hours it just seems wrong.

There was another moment this past weekend when we had a family get together at a casino in Winnipeg. We had a private banquet room and after my cousin’s surprise birthday party the family wasted their money on slot machines. I had no idea that casinos in the city are now 24/7 (at least for a short time during some kind of trial run by the province).

So, you can’t enjoy retail shopping at 8 p.m. on a Sunday in Manitoba but you can slip dollar bill after dollar bill into a slot machine to help the province any time of the day, any time of the week.

It makes me wonder why a government would endorse one badly addictive hobby like gambling but not let people buy alcohol whenever they please, or go shopping for that matter. What makes one habit better or less threatening than another? Addictions can be dangerous to a person’s well being if they get out of hand. Gambling seems to be untouchable right now.
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