You Drink Alcohol?

“You drink alcohol?” she asks with an expression of disbelief, as the waiter brings me my ‘vino tinto’ to go with my lunch.

“Yes, I do like a glass of wine with my meals” I say while I drizzle some olive oil over the mixed salad. “Why would you think I wouldn’t?”

“Because you wrote a book on alcoholism” she replied.

“Mmmm, because I lived with an alcoholic, interviewed people negatively affected by over-consumption of alcohol and then combined my own and their stories into a book, you automatically assume that I don’t drink alcohol or that I’m totally against it?”

She looks at me nodding, telling me she just assumed that I would be against it, just like many ex-smokers become extremely sensitive to other smokers.  I can see where she is coming from and wonder if there are more people who think like her.

Yes I do drink alcohol.  I can enjoy a glass of wine with my dinner or just with a tapa when out with a friend.  I am not against responsible drinking at all.  I can enjoy the taste; I can enjoy the social aspect and don’t have a problem with people drinking a few glasses on a daily basis.

This is not why I wrote the book.  I wrote the book to bring awareness about the large group who do have a problem with alcohol and the even larger group who are indirectly affected by it.  I would like people to at least try and understand why it can have such a devastating effect on people’s lives in all layers of society.

However, I also must admit that I have developed a slight aversion to people who drink too much, people who are drunk or nearly drunk.  I don’t like the loudness, the seemingly out of control behaviours.  I also have a problem with people using comments like “don’t be a bore, let’s get drunk, oh come on, have a glass, one won’t hurt” as these can make life very difficult for those who are trying to cut down or stay away from alcohol.

I have a problem that we seem to live in a society where drinking alcohol is considered the right thing to do, that teaches getting drunk is fun, that advertises people who drink as having a great time and that you cannot have a good time or a laugh without a drink.

Writing my book and interviewing other people has turned me into an ‘expert’ on a subject that used to rule my life.  It still is a major part of my life, but this time with the intent to educate. This is why I wrote the book about the hidden side of alcoholism, voiced by people from various countries.

I don’t feel a need for a ban on alcohol, I don’t think we need to live in an alcohol free society but I do think we should try and change contemporary cultural behaviour with regard to the over consumption of alcohol and this starts with awareness.

“I can still enjoy the odd glass of wine” I say while I raise my glass to toast with my friend: ‘Cheers’

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