All significant truths are private truths. As they become public, they cease to be truth; they become facts, or at best, part of the public character; or at worst catchwords.
Thursday, 25 August 2011
The cost of alcohol
One of the things I've done this year is to almost give up drinking alcohol. I say "almost" because I do have a drink if I go out socially or have a meal with friends. I am not teetotal but I don't generally drink and will often go for several weeks without having an alcoholic drink. Nor was giving up drinking a conscious decision, although ironically it did start around New Year and was partly a response to the huge pile of empties that we accumulated at New Year (we did have several friends around for a party!) I decided to limit myself to fruit juice for a few days and the habit just stuck.
It is clear, however, that Britain does in general have a fairly serious drink problem, and I wonder whether my giving up of alcohol was in some way a response to or protest against the damage that excessive drinking can cause. I work with young people so I often hear some fairly immature attitudes to drink. Some, not all, seem to talk about getting "off your face" on a Friday night as though this were a great achievement or talent, when clearly it isn't! I can just about live with this level of immaturity in teenagers, but I do sometimes hear the same kind of talk from adults. Why is it that people think the fact they drink a lot is something to be proud of, but having a drink problem is something they would be ashamed of?
I am not convinced that making alcohol more expensive is a solution, but ironically alcohol related problems are costing us all more and more as time goes on, and that's just the financial cost let alone the social and emotional cost that so many individuals and families are having to pay. To change we need a widespread revolution in attitudes - not to all renounce alcohol, but just to be a bit more grown up about the whole affair. Grown ups really shouldn't think its hilarious, admirable or even noteworthy that when they drink too much they lose control.