Well, had an amazing holiday travelling to Australia, New Zealand and Dubai and the chance to see how different drinking culture changes how much we drink.
Mardi Gra in Australia
Landed in Sydney, the weekend of the Mardi Gra. So Saturday night hordes of happy chirpy characters wandering around in costumes from Little Bo-Peep to tiny little G-strings which left absolutely nothing to the imagination. I really enjoyed watching the parade and unlike Dublin city centre on a Saturday night there was no air of menace just people strutting their stuff and having fun.
Australians drink a lot but they’re behind us in the drinking stakes at 9.4 litres per person.
Chilled out New Zealand
Next to Wellington, New Zealand. Fantastic country with wonderful chilled out people. They drink around the same as Australians at 9.4 litres. The Kiwi’s I met did not drink much at all- one or two drinks on a night out. It was also lovely to be able to walk home from the city centre and feel totally safe.
Both Kiwis and Australians are drinking less now but there are concerns about the damage caused by drinking with the older age group doing most damge to themselves.
Drinking in Dubai
Stopped off in Dubai on the way home. A massive culture shock. Public drinking is only allowed in hotels and restaurants. A licence is needed to buy alcohol in shops. Alcohol advertising is not allowed in Dubai. They bleep out words which refer to alcohol in songs played on the radio. At 3.8 litres per person their alcohol consumption is really low.
The Muslim religion forbids the consumption of alcohol. Muslim people are not allowed to work or support the alcohol industry in any way.
If we had not been staying in a hotel where alcohol was part of the package it would have been very easy not to drink.
While there are serious human rights issues in Dubai we could learn something from their approach to alcohol.
Drinking culture does affect how much we drink
So after an incredible holiday, sadly arrived back to Dublin. On one of my first nights out with friends drank more than I intended to. Again! Never had that problem while I was away on holidays.
It’s just so easy to drink more than we want too in our drinking culture. Our society makes it very difficult to cut back on drinking. We drink more than any of the countries I visited at a massive 11 litres per person.
What to do?
So we can’t change how society views alcohol overnight. But we can help ourselves. Simply accepting that some of our drinking issues are caused by problems beyond our control can help us cope with them. Or as the Nagoski sisters put it
“Just knowing the game is rigged can help you feel better straight away”
A thought that certainly made me feel better and not so stupid with my hangover.