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What's Worse: Alcohol or Marijuana?
DR. WALLACE: Is it worse to smoke marijuana or drink alcohol? My parents and I always argue about this because they call themselves social drinkers, and that's supposed to be all right. I call myself a "social smoker," but it's considered bad in their eyes.
I'm positive that your response to this letter will encourage my parents to give me some slack. — Nameless, Rochester, Minn.
NAMELESS: I'm not defending your parents' social drinking habit, but it is legal to consume alcoholic beverages and illegal to mess with marijuana. Both alcohol and pot can cause intoxication. Alcohol can become physically addictive while marijuana can't — but it can be psychologically addictive. Chemicals from a single marijuana cigarette can remain in the human body for as long as a month.
The main chemical in marijuana, THC, likes to hide in fat. This means it can be stored in the body for long periods of time in areas of high-fat content, such as the lungs, brain and reproductive organs. These are the areas most affected by marijuana use. Alcohol, which is water-soluble, leaves the body within a few hours.
Instead of arguing which unhealthy habit is worse, why don't you and your parents decide to give up both of them? The money saved, which can be considerable, could be used for a family adventure, such as a trip to Hawaii during the cold northern winter or a camping expedition to the beautiful Minnesota wilderness during spring, summer or fall.
YOU DON'T NEED A FOUR-LEAF CLOVER
DR. WALLACE: I'm the unluckiest guy in the entire country. If my luck wasn't bad, I'd have no luck at all. What happened yesterday is a good example of what I mean.
My dad let me take his new car on a date, so I could sort of "impress" the girl.
I've tried to change my luck, but nothing seems to work. Do you know where I can get a four-leaf clover? I really need one in a hurry. — Ethan, Miami.
ETHAN: I spend some time working with teens at a psychiatric hospital, and I discussed your letter with a staff psychologist who informed me that "lucky" people don't necessarily possess four-leaf clovers, but they do have these five common traits:
— They plan ahead, anticipate a situation, and prepare for it.
— They are willing to take modest risks. This helps overcome the fear of failure.
— They look at familiar things in a different way. The ability to see everyday things in a new light is an aspect of creativity.
— They form helpful relationships. This isn't "using" people. It simply means taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way through friends.
— They turn misfortune into an adventure. When their approach to a goal is blocked, they don't feel sorry for themselves. They use a different approach or substitute another goal.
How many of these traits are part of your daily activity?
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. E-mail him at email@example.com. To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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