TIL that an estimated 900 Jehova's Witness followers die every year as a result of refusing blood transfusions.

I grew up in the 80s where Baby Boomer idiot parents refused to talk about drugs with their kids and pretended they were never fucking in the mud listening to All Along the Watchtower. We spent all of elementary school hearing Just Say No and that pot and alcohol would kill you while simultaneously, every fucking movie seemed to glamorize drug use. Eventually we all learned that drinking and pot wouldn't kill you and was fun, and that our fat, lying, hypocrite parents were all former hippie filth who were dodging drafts during 'Nam, smoking dope, dropping acid, having orgies, and listening to their Goddamn Beatles albums. So we drank at high school parties, smoked cigarettes, and scored the kind of shitty pot you can't even buy anymore because hey, we wanted to be as cool as the people on the beer or liquor commercials or that dipshit camel who rode motorcycles and had leather jackets. So we push it and push it and then college or a shitty job rolls around but now the party is over and we drink, smoke cigarettes, and smoke weed every night, and it becomes something we use to self-medicate and remove some of the stress from daily life. Maybe here and there we get a break from the endless disappointments of a crippled economy since the dot net bubble has just burst and Enron has set the tone for not only culling the bottom 15% of its employees a few times a year but also standardizes mark-to-market accounting and devolves into outright fraud, setting the stage for countless companies trying to provide artificial growth in a country for obscene profits are not acceptable unless they get larger annually. It's nearly impossible to get a job, collection letters are rolling in for those college loans and credit cards they handed out with free calculators and t-shirts on college campuses, and we're being told we are a lazy and incompetent generation while being over qualified for the menial jobs we have. So yeah, when the weekend rolls around and we don't have health care, we drink to make our problems go away. And maybe after four drinks, someone wants to take the party somewhere cheaper like an apartment. And maybe someone has some coke or meth and wow! Holy shit! How cool is that! Everyone in the movies does it and all the rich people use it! Damn, feels pretty good! And it doesn't seem like a big deal! In fact, it's underwhelming. But the cop on the D. A. R. E. video said it would kill me! Damn, is there anything I've been told by adults that is true? But one weekend becomes two, then four, then a few times a week, and you're always broke and you're always depressed because you just don't want to feel like a piece of shit. Then something truly horrible happens- your two roommates die of a heroin overdose. Maybe your dad dies from lung cancer or liver cancer. But you are so used to using drugs and alcohol as your antidote to life's absurdity and pain that you keep going back. Sure, every year, you cut back, but then you find yourself puking and calling in sick or waking up in an unfamiliar house with no clothes on. You try to escape the poison, but tragedy and disappointment for your friends, family, and yourself keep coming. You wish you could get help but to see a therapist or psychiatrist you need a referral, but you can't see a doctor without insurance anyway, and even if you could find a shrink that was accepting new patients, you'd have to wait 3 months to get an appointment and spend thousands before your deductible meant, not to mention hemorrhaging money for the cocktail of designer pharmaceuticals you've been prescribed, all assuming you can get off work to see a shrink during the middle of the day and hope your colleagues don't notice because skipping work is for lazy assholes and real men don't need mental health counseling. Eventually you just give up and continue to binge on alcohol and drugs of any kind at any time. Maybe you eventually get a wife and a condo and some dogs and a decent job, but now you hide your abuse from everyone except your deadbeat friends with whom you get fucked up, sneaking in bed late at night pretending you didn't just do an 8-ball and trying not to shake and sweat like a crack baby. Then the following happens: you end up in the hospital, prison, homeless, or dead. For me, all of this is true. My last hurrah after being a functional alcoholic and drug addict was when I tried to use an ounce of cocaine in a week. I ended up in the sketchiest situations known to man, fucking hookers, scoring drugs in the ghetto... My nose stopped up on day three; then I mixed everclear with cocaine in a nasal spray bottle and could clear up my passages for a few key bumps as I walked through Target. On the way into PetSmart to get some dog food, I had a minor heart attack and collapsed, thinking, "Aw fuck... Now I've done it. I've gone and died." In my drugged out state, I climbed back in my car and called a friend and she picked me up. A hospital visit was avoided, but I got my vitals checked out after I finally drank some water and got some rest thanks to an elephant's dose of benzos. The next day, I could barely communicate and was in so much pain I felt like my joints were being electrocuted and my brain was in a vice. My friend literally took me to beach and threw me in the ocean and told me to stay there until I "dried out." The waves beat the poison out of me for a few hours as I closed my eyes and fantasized about a life without drugs and alcohol. I promised if I survived, I would give it up, and I did. I've been sober now since 9/7/15. And the real world feels like an alternate reality. It isn't easier. It is fucking brutal. The point of all of this? In the words of a famous 80s drug ad, "Nobody ever says," I wanna be a junkie when I grow up." There are endless variables and reasons why people fall into this trap. I didn't even know until much later in life that 3 of my 4 grandparents as well as two uncles were full-blown alcoholics, because they were all dead from drinking except one who sobered up before my parents would let him near me. All I'm saying is, it's complicated. Kids receive mixed messages, genetics are involved, risks are overstated and drugs and alcohol are overglamorized. Life is hard and fast, and in the US, we are conditioned to cut corners and take risks and quick fixes just to survive. We celebrate alcohol, we rank party universities, we associate pot with youth and progressivism. But the only thing the D. A. R. E. program got right was, alcohol IS the ultimate gateway drug because it unlocks inhibitions and allows poor decision making. A lot of the time, life feels bad and drugs feel good. Yes, even knowing the risks, sometimes people just want to feel good, even if it is artificial and unlocks a cycle of depression and anxiety tempered with short bursts of serotonin and dopamine. Don't be too hard on we unfortunate addicts.

/r/todayilearned Thread Parent Link - krev.info