By in Books

How Reading Is Better Than Drugs or Alcohol

I began to read at the usual age for those growing up in the 60s, at age 5. How soon I began to immerse myself in books after that is not precisely remembered, but by the age of 9 years-old I was visiting the public library on a regular basis.

To say that I devoured books with my eyes and mind is an apt statement. By the time I was 12 years-old, I had read the entire Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series. Still eager to read more mysteries, I made my first foray into the adult section of the library, delighted to find the novels of Agatha Christie.

I began reading a book on the walk home from the library and most of my spare moments between school, homework and friends.

In short, reading was nearly as natural as breathing.

When I became of age and some of the people around me were experimenting with marijuana or alcohol -- and offering the same to me -- I rebuffed their offers, explaining I already knew how to enjoy life without mind-altering substances. How naive I must have sounded to them!

To say that I always eschewed alcohol or the occasional smoke would be a lie, but I did find that my original "addiction" to books was preferable to the side effects of drugs or alcohol.

Maybe by helping to instill the love of reading in our children and grandchildren we can help them to avoid the eventual pitfalls of such substances. It may seem a simplistic solution to a very large problem, but it's an effort that should only benefit them in both the short and long run.

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Image Credit » Public Domain CC0 License via Pixabay

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LeaPea2417 wrote on September 29, 2014, 3:05 PM

Oh yes, I totally agree with you on this! You wrote this so well and have made such a good point!

Scorpie wrote on September 29, 2014, 3:08 PM

Refined sugar is more mind altering than the other things mentioned. Pitfall indeed.

Feisty56 wrote on September 29, 2014, 3:23 PM

Thank you. Looking back on it now, I see I took a really crooked road to get to my point. : )

Feisty56 wrote on September 29, 2014, 3:25 PM

It's not so much marijuana use that concerns me, but the more addictive and lethal uses of heroin, meth and even prescription pain killers. Refined sugar is a demon, but belong in another class of concerns to my way of thinking.

Scorpie wrote on September 29, 2014, 4:31 PM

We need to get back to nature. Datura tea.

BarbRad wrote on September 29, 2014, 5:28 PM

I so agree. I'm also a bookworm since the age of three. I had a mother and other adults who read to me, so I was blessed. I couldn't wait to learn to read so I could unlock all those book treasures for myself.

Feisty56 wrote on September 29, 2014, 6:01 PM

How about a post about it? : )

Ellis wrote on September 29, 2014, 6:26 PM

I was not much of a reader as a child or writer for that matter.. Some kids lean towards numbers and other kids lean towards words...I leaned towards

richardarowell wrote on September 29, 2014, 6:29 PM

An addiction to reading is a good one to have!

AliCanary wrote on September 29, 2014, 6:30 PM

Yeah, my eyesight is crap, but I saved a ton of money and I look 15 years younger, so...hah!

LarrySells wrote on September 29, 2014, 7:42 PM

My main addiction is words. I started writing at eight years old and started devouring books around that time. I was an alcoholic at age twelve and made my first suicide attempt at age eleven. It was my reading and writing that made me through the rough times. I live with bipolar.

Bethany1202 wrote on September 30, 2014, 12:20 PM

Reading is beneficial in many ways. For those looking to "escape" with drugs and alcohol, reading is a healthier and excellent alternative. Wonderful post!

paigea wrote on September 30, 2014, 6:59 PM

I devoured books growing up. But my very smart, talented niece (whom I raised) did not read for pleasure, ever. She had many other interests that kept her out of trouble though. I think the key is find and support them in their real interests.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 4, 2014, 6:10 AM

Your post describes me at that age, almost to a T! Like you, I mostly read in my spare time. I didn't care for "hanging out" and I didn't have a need to experiment with getting high. My kids are the same. Two of my three girls spend most of their spare time at home, and one of their preferred hobbies is reading. The third girl is more outgoing, but she's also my biggest bookworm! She can devour several novels in a weekend, and frequently does! I never worry about the girls getting into trouble because they're bored. That really doesn't happen very often!

Feisty56 wrote on October 4, 2014, 2:39 PM

I think my love of reading began when my Dad used to read this huge book of nursery rhymes, riddles and short stories before I was old enough to read myself.

Feisty56 wrote on October 4, 2014, 2:40 PM

Lol, that sounds typical of a lot of young males. For some reason, maybe societal expectations, girls seems to buckle down earlier than do many boys. But look at where you are now!

Feisty56 wrote on October 4, 2014, 2:41 PM

I agree. Too many addictions lead to poverty, illness or worse -- not so with the love of reading.

Feisty56 wrote on October 4, 2014, 2:42 PM

You look 15 years younger because you love to read? Dang, I best follow your reading list. : )

Feisty56 wrote on October 4, 2014, 2:43 PM

Oh my gosh! What a roller coaster ride your youth must have been. Reading and writing are lifesavers for you, in the strictest sense of the word.

Feisty56 wrote on October 4, 2014, 3:17 PM

Maybe what reading needs is a youth-centered campaign to show how "cool" it is to read. Young people often give in to the temptation of using drugs or alcohol due to peer pressure. What if we could find a way to share how awesome it is to read?

Feisty56 wrote on October 4, 2014, 3:19 PM

Yes, you can't make someone love to read any more than you can make someone love anything. I don't think trying to force a love of reading is productive. In the long run, such tactics may cause a person to come to hate the idea altogether.

Feisty56 wrote on October 4, 2014, 3:21 PM

Oh my gosh, yes! When a person enjoys reading, there really isn't time to be bored unless s/he runs out of reading material. I've never regretted my enjoyment of reading and it sounds as if you haven't either.

BarbRad wrote on October 4, 2014, 8:18 PM

My mom used to read me all those rhymes in the Childcraft books -- the big orange ones. What's pathetic, though funny, is when she was in the hospital with a compression fracture, doped up on painkillers and Ativan, I was trying to feel her lunch one day and she suddenly started reciting "Skinny Mrs. Snipkin, with her little Pipkin, sat by the fireside a warming of her toes....." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I did a lot of praying during that 21-day hospital stay.

AliCanary wrote on October 6, 2014, 8:15 PM

LOL, because no drugs and alcohol! ...Then again, maybe I just think I look 15 years younger because my eyesight is crap. Thanks, Reading! ;)

Feisty56 wrote on October 6, 2014, 8:58 PM

That must have been startling for you. My family is used to me, without the benefit of drugs or alcohol, to suddenly blurt out a rhyme or riddle, or even a few lines of a song.

Feisty56 wrote on October 6, 2014, 8:59 PM

Lol, stop! I am sure you look younger than your years, good eyesight or poor.

Ruby3881 wrote on October 7, 2014, 3:03 PM

That's our biggest complaint here: "I'm all out of books, and the library's closed!"

No, I will never regret that books were my earliest and best friend growing up :)