Disclaimer: this article is in no way associated with the Islam, this is from a wholly unbiased, basic, human perspective. Again, this article is secular.
Things many of us have barely ever discussed with our parents are sex, alcohol and drugs. As a result, we have become unaware and desensitized of the deep and never-ending world of drugs. In Egypt, those of us who ‘experiment’ will probably not stop there. It’s very easy for one pill to turn into three or four and then turn into snorting lines off a dark surface. And so, goes for alcohol: one sip becomes a cup becomes getting really wasted. And for an overwhelmingly large portion of Egyptian teenagers, especially those who are pressured by mates or feel like outcasts, drugs are the perfect outlet and the best form of rebellion against their country, their parents and even themselves.
What Alcohol Does to Your Body:
Alcohol takes some time to enter your bloodstream through the stomach and small intestine, after having consumed some alcoholic beverage, like vodka or beer. It travels to the brain, and that’s where it starts to really affect you. It slows reaction time, impairs your vision, jumbles up your thoughts and makes it difficult to make proper judgement, and, most importantly, it makes people lose their inhibitions (makes them do things they wouldn’t do when sober) and numbs them to stress like school or relationships. Some people find themselves more fun, braver or more willing to do impulsive and exciting stuff after a few drinks, as opposed to their shy and reserved sober self.
An occasional glass of wine with dinner is okay, and some claim moderate amounts of alcohol may be good for the heart, but let’s be real here, that’s not what any of us teenagers are looking for. There is huge emphasis on the need to get drunk when it comes to alcohol, and the same goes for any other drug. That is especially relevant in a party, or even a small get-together that has to do with alcohol or drugs.
Some teenagers who drink regularly do so under the illusion that it is their decision, completely void of external factors, when really, it’s the toxic environment that they insist on surrounding themselves with that pressures into doing something they don’t want to do but don’t know it yet. It’s not only the pressure one would be experiencing from the people around them, but also the temporary release from psychological pain or deeply rooted insecurities that make people drink alcohol or smoke up.
The largest and most prominent reason for drinking and doing drugs amongst Egyptian teenagers is one I have seen in all the people I know who do these things. Those teenagers who feel detached, out of place and outcast from this toxic Egyptian culture find drugs to be a sort of comfort. People who already do not feel connected to their identity as an Egyptian drink and do drugs because it suits the image of disconnection from the Egyptian society that they have been trying to avoid their entire lives, but ended up acquiescently accepting. That is why drinking is common for LGBTQ+ teenagers, straight guys who feel conflicted about their masculinity, girls who have been slut-shamed all too frequently and any teenager who thinks differently and doesn’t feel at home in Egypt.
The Problem with Drinking in Egypt:
While drinking and drugs provide the necessary circumstances for a temporary moment of bliss for those who suffer, the perfect form of rebellion against self, or just fun, there’s always more to it. The irony about those who drink because they wish to secretly feel better or satisfy their already rebellious persona is that too much of it will do the exact opposite of what they chose to drink for. And in Egypt, drinking alcohol will always be too much; because when Egyptians have a taste of rebellion after this huge amount of repression, they go all out.
Under its influence, your judgement is absolute trash, you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re putting yourself at risk of things happening to you and you doing things that can and will attract the bad kind of attention. You may not be able to walk or even form a proper sentence, and you will probably vomit all over the place.
It will especially not help knowing that your friends will have to deal with such a situation, where they have to carry you around and babysit you, make sure no one notices the trembling drunken mess they’re hauling around while simultaneously trying to find a safe environment that does not include parents or adults knowing of this situation. While getting wasted is enough a wake-up-call, it’s quite the scarring experience.
Not to mention that underage drinking might cause a lot trouble when found out, socially and legally. Lying to your parents and your friends is also but another con. Lying will result in an extra endless toxic loop alongside the drug.
The illegal drugs, however, are way worse, because the measures you will be willing to take in order to obtain some, will make you dive into a really scary and new foreign world in the shadows of Cairo. While getting hash seems fairly easily, there is way more beyond the surface.
Drugs and drinking are really just a cheap tactic to get over your problems, that will really only get worse with the regular binge drinking. Go out, get wasted, forget your problems, die a little inside, repeat. Alcohol and hash in general aren’t entirely bad, it’s just alcohol and hash in Egypt as a teen that is entirely bad. Deciding to get into these habits isn’t a very wise decision at this delicate age, because we are not very good at making decisions for ourselves and being responsible with them after having them made. We put ourselves in this risky situation and the very possible chance of developing an addiction now or later on in life, just because of reasons that aren’t worth the pain that comes from getting into drugs and lying about it.