Jordan Peterson Talks Alcohol with Theo Von
Whatever your opinions on Jordan Peterson‘s politics, there’s no denying the fact that the bestselling Canadian author knows a thing or two about a thing or two. In fact, his deep dives into The Bible, which encompass the entire history of learning, are some of the most edifying talks on the Interwebs. Here the crackerjack thinker takes on alcohol. And you can only guess who wins.
That’s right, we win. Each and every one of us. Because when Peterson tackles a subject he pins that subject to the ground and keeps it pinned in perpetuity. And if there’s one subject that needs to be put down and stay put down, it’s alcohol.
Better Than Alcohol
We’re in Los Angeles. On the set of podcast This Past Weekend. The host, Theo Von, made his name with MTV’s Real World/Road Rules. And he’s been attempting to shed his reality star image ever since. That retrofit involves sketch comedy (Inside Amy Schumer, Why? With Hannibal Buress), standup (NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Netflix’s No Offense) and lots and lots of podcasting, beginning with 2011’s The Comedy Sideshow. Also, as of this taping (May 2019) Theo Von was almost two years into his 12 Steps.
Von’s struck by Peterson’s “estimable people do estimable things.” The declaration springs from the author’s blockbuster 12 Rules for Life. And it is about as sensible a notion as a notion can get. It also parallels many of the tenets found in Alcoholics Anonymous.
“It’s better than alcohol, man,” says Peterson. “The funny thing is if you’re trying to stop drinking alcohol you’ve got to find something better than alcohol — and alcohol’s pretty good! So you’ve got to find something a lot better.”
Peterson thinks asking people why they drink too much is a stupid question. Better to ask why they would stop.
“You do stupid things when you’re drunk,” says Peterson. “You hurt yourself; you compromise your health. It’s really hard on the people around you. You tend to turn into a liar. And it screws up your life.”
“But it’s also fun,” he continues. “So you need to find something better than that. What’s better isn’t being straight and not making mistakes — that’s all prohibition in some sense. You need an adventure. You need to get out there and have something to do. You need something worth waking up for. That’s the substitute for addiction.”
A Friend Indeed
Alcohol and drugs of course are an occupational hazard for people in the entertainment industry, and Von was no exception. When pressed about what his life would’ve been like had he continued to drink and drug though, he doesn’t hold back. “It would’ve been hell,” he said.
So yeah, you need something to run away from (hell) and to run toward (adventure). You also need friends. Real friends. There are two hallmarks to true friendship, says Peterson, having them listen to your bad news without being judgemental and having them hear your good news without being envious. A real friend won’t try to one-up you either, good or bad, or be an obstacle, in any way, shape or form.
“If you’re trying to get your life together and your friends get in the way; that’s actually of real use to you. Because you’ve now identified who your friends aren’t.
Alcohol: The Worst of All Possible Drugs?
“If we had to make a bad drug legal,” says Peterson, “the worst choice was alcohol. And I’m saying that as somewhat of a fan of alcohol. It’s a bad drug, man. It’s the only drug we know that actually makes people aggressive, so you see a massive effect on crime rates. Half the people who murder someone are drunk. And half the people who are murdered are drunk.”
“You know of course you’re also most likely to be murdered by a family member,” continues Peterson. “So I’ve been joking with my audiences that if you want to get killed just go out drinking with a member of your family! It’s statistically true!”
Statistically true or not, murder is no laughing matter. Neither is abusing alcohol. And far too many families have been torn asunder by having an alcoholic in their midst. That said, the recovered alcoholic can and often does end up becoming a cherished member of their family. Seems there’s something about living through the worst that could happen which brings out the best in people. That’s why we have AA in the first place. And why we are diligent about the 12 Steps. Because there are few better views than those seen on the right side of wrong.
If you or a loved one is experiencing trouble with alcohol, please give Healing Properties a call. We’ve been there. We’ve done that. And we know full well how to not ever have to go there or do that again.