A relative of mine ruined a family wedding drinking too much. Let’s call him David. He got too loud, too boisterous, too aggressive. Arguments were had. Tears were shed.
Everyone was upset including David
The next day everyone was very upset. David was remorseful, cloaked in shame and regret. Those affected were in turn angry and saddened. David was ignored for a while.
At the time, David admitted to me, he was using drinking as a crutch. He was using alcohol (self-medicating) to get through a difficult time. He was picking up the bottle rather than visiting a GP or a counsellor.
David stopped drinking and people were supportive – at first
When people learned David had stopped drinking in an attempt to address the problems that had caused the excessive drinking, everyone was very supportive. For a time. Soon it was Christmas and people began to ask if he would be having a drink. They expressed surprise, disappointment even, when he said no.
Was he sure he didn’t want a drink?
These were the same people who had been so disgraced by his alcohol induced behaviour at the wedding.
Relatives bought a crate of beer as a gift
After some time, David felt able to start drinking again, in smaller amounts, and usually just at home. When his birthday came around, relatives bought him a crate of beer as a gift. Relatives who had been at the wedding and had been appalled at his behaviour.
We need to support people who are trying to drink less
We need to see that posts on Facebook about ‘wine o’clock’ normalise binge drinking. We need to understand that giving alcohol as a gift can lead to drinking to excess. We need to support people who are trying to drink less.
we need to stop the
‘ ah, go on you will’
Mrs Doyle inspired method of offering people a drink. We need to understand celebrations and alcohol need not go hand in hand.
We have made many steps forward in our attitudes towards drinking. But we still need to exercise caution. Most of all we need to listen and support those who are making the brave step of trying to reduce their drinking.
This story really shows why it can be so difficult to drink less in Ireland.
If you’re worried about going to a wedding drinking too much, you’ll find some free good advice here.
Yesterday, the official reports show Irish drinking has increased in 2016. So we’ve a long way to go. See here for details.