When did drinking become so normal?

As Lent came to an end over the weekend, and all the brave people who committed to giving things up for 40 days returned to their usual indulgences (including Ellen – read her Lent diaries here!), I got to thinking about boozing, and how it’s just so so normal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not criticising it in anyway. I drink a lot. Too much! I lie to my dentist and doctor when they ask me how many units a week I drink (I know, I know, but it’s just so much easier than sitting through the inevitable lecture!) In our house we treat everything with alcohol. Something to celebrate? Let’s have a drink! Bad day at the office? Let’s have a drink! Indifferent to everything? A glass of wine will help!

(pics taken from my instagram over the past week)

(This makes me sound like an alcoholic, which I’m not, but I do really enjoy the warm fuzzy feeling of booze and I’m not going to apologise for it)

I know I’m not the only one who drinks more than they should, whether that’s through the course of the week or in a binge at weekends. I just wonder when it became so socially acceptable?

When I was a kid my Mom and Dad might share a bottle of wine on a Friday night, or buy a bottle if we had people over for Sunday lunch. I wouldn’t even contemplate sharing just one bottle of wine these days! A bottle of wine is only 3 large glasses (although it sounds better to say you’ve “only” had 3 glasses than drunk a bottle, admittedly!) and 1.5 glasses each if you’re sharing with another person isn’t going to last you more than an hour, at best.

Where pubs used to be the domain of men having a couple of pints after work, or on a Sunday lunchtime, now women are stepping out of the kitchen and into the boozer, and rightly so! No element of a modern society should be skewed to any gender, and equality includes the right to drink where and when we choose.

Maybe it’s because there’s more visibility now, through social media, that we realise how much and how often people are drinking. Thirsty Thursday is a recognised hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, and the majority of people seem to associate the weekend with drinking alcohol. Sitting at home with a glass of wine is the norm, as is women with screaming toddlers exalting bedtime so they can kick back and soothe away the day with a G&T. I can’t imagine that being the case when my Mom was my age (which isn’t that long ago). The statement of “I need a drink” is synonymous with people receiving bad or stressful news, and it’s completely ok to “drown our sorrows”. Ask someone “is it too early for a drink” and you’ll quite likely be given an encouraging “well the pubs are open”, or “it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere” in return. Go to any airport departure lounge at any time of day and the pubs will be heaving with people having the obligatory pre-holiday drink, whatever time of day! (I’m also guilty of this, I have many photos of me proudly holding a glass of pink wine at 5am!)

So why is it that a lot of people are drinking more frequently than in the past? Is it because, generally, we have more free time and spare cash than generations before us? That it’s more acceptable to be steaming drunk than it used to be? (this is more specific to women, I think, who still get judged more harshly than men). That our lifestyles are more stressful, with longer hours and more responsibility, and we feel that we need or deserve the escape?

The fact that, as a race, we’re more clued up on healthy living and the effects of our lifestyles than ever before, you’d think that we’d be more afraid of the well known effects of alcohol (weight gain, memory loss, liver damage, the list is long) but seemingly we turn a blind eye, instead only looking at the perceived benefits (we feel less stressed, more sociable, happier).

While drugs are illegal and smoking is becoming less and less socially acceptable, drinking is only ever frowned upon at the point at which someone has become addicted to the point of ruining their life or the lives of others. We live in a drinker’s society. You can buy booze so easily and cheaply; at all hours of the day. You can drink a beer at the cinema, or a glass of wine at the theatre. Pubs often do meal deals to include a free drink. A few years ago I took my Mom for some spa treatments for her birthday and we were given prosecco on arrival. Some hairdressers give their clients booze! Now replace any or all of those scenarios with a cigarette or a line of cocaine. It’s unthinkable.

Does any of this change my opinion of boozing? Look, in truth, I sometimes wish I didn’t want to have a drink on a night out. It would be great to save money and lose weight as a side benefit too. But, in truth, it ain’t going to happen! It’s too ingrained in society, and too ingrained in me.

What are your thoughts? Do you enjoy the odd tipple? Are you a celebratory drinker? Should alcohol be treated more like the drug it is? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

7 thoughts on “When did drinking become so normal?

  1. Holly says:

    I completely agree with this. It’s definitely become such a normalised thing and in fact, sometimes if you’re out and you’re not drinking it can harbour strange reactions. I feel like we probably should get back to encouraging having a drink or two, but not getting completely sloshed. Here in Australia we have such a bad drinking culture where it’s so normal if you go out and get drunk every weekend but it’s not healthy behaviours. Great post!
    Holly x | http://www.thechroniclesofholly.com/

    • This, tatt and the other says:

      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I know that Australians have a rep as heavy drinkers! But Brits are really bad too. Do you drink? I feel like Americans have this big thing of “getting sober” but there has to be a happy medium, no? Like it’s ok to have a few drinks!

  2. Tina says:

    I love getting home and having a glass of wine or beer, or going out and having one (bottle) with dinner. I agree on the 1.5 glasses thing too, I actually think it should be more acceptable to drink more wine! haha. But I often feel like people do look at it as odd or too much.

    I don’t like the idea of depending on alcohol, so I just make sure it’s never ‘I need a drink’ and more ‘I fancy a drink’ 😉 Trick myself, why not!

    I have been on nights out and not drank and they’ve been great, but I still choose to drink when I can, it’s just better for me, and definitely ingrained in me too.

    • This, tatt and the other says:

      All the love for this response, it makes me feel more “normal”!! Because in truth I do think I drink more than is socially acceptable (certainly more than my doctor would approve of!) but I certainly don’t crave booze and haven’t got a problem. I just enjoy it, and life is about enjoyment, right?

      • Tina says:

        Exact same! I’m glad you’ve written about it. It seems it’s more trendy to drink less now, and it’s odd that it’s even a trend at all. I tend to drink more calmly than I used to, but still quite often as I just see it as any other drink, rather than trying to get drunk (that make sense?) My doctor definitely wouldn’t be okay with it though! X

  3. Lori says:

    I realized my drinking was starting to be an issue so I been trying to cut back or quit. I enjoy it so much that I can’t imagine having any fun without it. Why does our lives become so absorbed with drinking? Then I found this book at the library, The Easy Way To Stop Drinking by Allen Carr. It’s an interesting read, with a different take on drinking. Weather you are just curious on another person’s viewpoint or actually want to stop drinking, I recommend giving this book a try.

    • This, tatt and the other says:

      I don’t want to stop drinking, I just wish I didn’t drink as much or as regularly, if that makes sense? I’m far from dependant on booze but I do drink with more regularity than I probably should. Are you trying to quit, or just cut down?

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