Last week, we wrote about drinking culture raising the issue of is it really our fault if we drink too much?
What do the experts say?
The experts look at three things, they call Structural, Community and Individual.
What’s the structural issue?
Structural looks at stuff like legal systems and regulations. So in Ireland, we licence pubs and we allow alcohol advertising. Until the new Public Health Alcohol bill is actually implemented alcohol can be sold below cost as a loss leader by big supermarkets. Makes it very cheap and easy to buy.
What the bill won’t do is stop sports accepting alcohol advertising. So we’ll still have the ridiculous situation of leading sport heroes like Johnny Sexton accepting the “Heineken Man of the Match award”
So in Ireland, structural factors are still stacked in favour of drinking alcohol.
What’s the Community issue?
The community aspect is how people as a society actually work and live together. The GAA is a big part of our community. They’re more aware of the damage alcohol does as they don’t accept alcohol sponsorships and they train club staff to provide help for people who drink too much. (Click here for details)
So they are well ahead of the rugby gang. However so many of the local clubs depend on alcohol sales to stay afloat and the range of alcohol free drinks in club bars is generally poor.
Communion and Confirmation season
With communion and confirmation season on us, we can really see how everything resolves around drink. So often the Communion party is the bouncy castle in the garden, where all the kids play outside while the adults sit around for hours drinking. Not just one or two glasses of wine, but a bottle or two. Kids grow up to see this as normal and then repeat the cycle when they are adults.
So the community we live in is still very much stacked in favour of drinking alcohol.
Does the individual have a part to play?
So is it any wonder we drink too much given the pressures to drink all the time? Is it our fault? This is where it’s useful to separate out fault versus responsibility.
Fault versus Responsibility
So if your partner cheats on you, it’s not your fault. If you grew up in a household where drinking too much was normal, it’s not your fault.
However it is your responsibility to figure out how you are going to deal with it. Because as the actor Will Smith says it’s
“Your heart, your life, your responsibility to be happy”.
So as we wrote last week, knowing the game is rigged against you helps. It is not your fault, drinking less is so difficult. It however your responsibility to decide how you are going to deal with the obstacles placed in your way.
It’s not your fault, but it is your responsibility
So when things go wrong, like you discover your partner is cheating, or just a really rough day in work and anxiety levels are through the roof, it’s your responsibility to choose how you will deal with this.
Have a bottle of wine, or just a glass, or maybe just head out for a walk? It’s not your fault, you’re having a rough time, but it’s your responsibility to choose how you will deal with it.
Will’s video is well worth watching and you can see it here.