The marquee of Rickel’s Liquor Store in Aggieville currently advertises that “Alcohol is Cheaper Than Going to Therapy.” As a licensed psychologist, I’d like to disagree.
It is true that a single serving of alcohol is cheaper than an hour of therapy (typical co-pay on therapy is $25-$30, while you can get a Natty Light for 53 cents per serving). So, on first glance, how could we dispute this claim? It does seem like alcohol is cheaper than an hour of therapy.
I think it’s good, however, to look a bit deeper into this. The marquee is suggesting that alcohol is a cheaper solution to life’s problems than therapy. Having been a practicing psychologist for more than 10 years, I have encountered many people who have attempted to use alcohol to deal with their emotions. Those individuals often drink 10-12 drinks per day ($5.30-$6.36 per day, if you’re sticking to the cheapest beer available). Now we’re in the neighborhood of $40 per week.
But that’s just the “at home” beer. Then, there are the nights out in Aggieville. A couple nights drinking in bars will, easily, bring the total up to $90 per week. But that’s just the financial cost.
Solving your problems with alcohol may cost you more than just money. I’ve watched my clients lose jobs, lose relationships and fail out of school. I’ve seen students impacted by the tragic loss of dear friends in drunk driving accidents. All of a sudden, alcohol use doesn’t seem all that cheap.
In fact, alcohol can cost you everything.
Sarah L. Wesch, Ph.D.