Tag: alcohol

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

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5 things to consider if you fail at Dry January

For many people who committed to Dry January, tonight will be the first hurdle to overcome in their journey towards 31 days of sobriety. Last weekend you were probably full of good intentions and feeling smug for having a booze free weekend. Now reality has kicked in with a vengeance, it’s the first full week at work (unless, like me, you’ve been ill), you’ve missed your pyjamas/lie ins/eating chocolate for breakfast and, truth be told, you bloody well deserve a glass of wine for making it through the week.

dry-january

If you do give in to temptation and hit the bottle, don’t despair! Here are 5 things to make you feel better about not doing Dry January (for the record, if anyone’s interested, I made no such commitment and have been happily boozing since January 1st. Not everyday though, obvs).

In the interests of transparency, I have taken inspiration taken from an article in the Metro – where they come up with a whole 13 reasons! Read the full article here

1 – It’s January

Nuff said. Cold, dark nights, ages til Spring and currently with added snow. Alcohol is one of the few joys available at this time of year!

2 – It’s (probably) unsustainable and unnecessary 
Unless you’re planning on becoming tee total all year, Dry January just confuses your body and liver. I did it once and, at the end, I was drunk and asleep on two vodkas. Much better to not deprive yourself and therefore continue your body’s natural tolerance.

3 – You’ll end up wishing part of your year away

For most people it will be something to grit their teeth and endure, therefore wishing it was February already just to crack open a bottle.

4 – Drinking makes you happy

‘Tis true! Most of us can associate with the warm glow that comes with the Friday night glug of a wine bottle being shared (or not shared, in my case) and the softening of the edges of life as the alcohol makes everything that little bit nicer. Contrast with the steely glare of real life for a whole 31 days with nothing to take the sharpness off the corners. No brainer.

5 – Socialising will become a chore

If you have any social occasions, celebrations or outings planned for January and you plan on remaining sober whilst your acquaintances aren’t you should probably start making your excuses now. Schedule for your dog to be ill or your hair to need washing, ‘cos there is nothing fun about being the sober one whilst your pals get merry. And they’ll probably expect a free lift home.

There, you’re reaching for the vino already, no? You’re welcome!

(on a serious note, if you are doing Dry January, then all power to you, and don’t let my inane waffle persuade you otherwise!)

Thanks, as always, for reading! x

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