When toxic friends make for toxic drinking

Have you ever had a really bad toxic drinking experience as a result of a toxic friend? You’ve been trying to reduce your drinking, but allowed yourself to be seduced into drinking as I was here?

Many people who have tried to reduce their drinking probably have had this experience. We’re told we’re

“No fun”

“You’re boring, for not drinking”


Living in a toxic allogenic culture

The reason we get this harsh attitude from friends is we’re living in a toxic alcogenic culture. Alcogenic means heavy toxic drinking is normal.

As Ann Dowsett Johnston says

“We live in an alcogenic culture, awash with cheap liquor, where drunkenness is normalised..

We’re swimming in an ocean of cheap alcohol. Our children are in trouble. Women are too. We’re medicating what ails us with our culture’s cheapest drug. And as a culture, we’re in deep denial.” (Link here)

This culture is so strong that even at events for doctors and nurses on public health, you can buy wine at the welcome receptions.(Link here)


Paddy’s Day makes it worse

Paddy’s day makes this sense of being an outsider for not drinking heavily worse. The level of drinking has got so bad the Gardaí even issue warnings not to spoil the day.

Thankfully we’re seeing some chinks of light in this toxic culture. Examples include

Nation currently caught between embracing drunken stereotype or only having a few

Public told to re-evaluate Paddy’s Day Piss up Plans in Event of grand slam win

Young Michael Fry’s Sean Nos send up. The Minster for Cans denying that he does not like drinking

Foil Arms and Hogg’s video at the Patrick’s day parade with the 10 year old being told to drink.


We need to feel connected

After air, food and liquids, the need to feel love- to feel connected to other people is essential. We know that loneliness- not having regular connections to people is a greater risk factor for poor health then even smoking. In England they’ve even appointed a Minister for loneliness.

This is why it is so difficult to go against the social norms which is to drink heavily. So looking at the comedy links above can help us feel less isolated when we feel lost from our friends for drinking less.


Friends may not like us drinking less

We’ve talked previously about how to say no when friends keep pressuring you to drink. But maybe the problem is bigger than simply saying no. What if the only thing you have in common with your friends is drinking as Lucy discovered?

This is pretty tough. At the very time we’re trying to get our drinking under control, we find our friends don’t want us to have a healthy lifestyle. It can really feel like rejection. If we’re also feeling guilt or shame about drinking it can leave us feeling pretty low.


What to do?

Ask yourself a few questions

  • Have you anything in common with these friends other than drinking?
  • Do you enjoy their company when not drinking?
  • Are they likely to keep nagging you if you’re not drinking as much as them?

If most of your answers are no, then sadly you may have to accept these people are not able to provide the friendship you need.   Don’t blame yourself for this though. The problem is with your friends not you.  Allow yourself to grieve and feel sadness over this, that way you’ll be able to move on.


What next?

After you’ve accepted the loss of your friends, it’s time to take action. After all, those hours spent toxic drinking now have to be filled as well. Lucy has some tips on this.

In our toxic alcogenic society it can be hard to find other friendships. So next week we’ll have some tips on this.





This post was written by Carol

As some who gets hangovers lasting a week, Carol never drank too much - Once she got to a sensible age! However as a patient with an auto immune illness, since she was a teenager she has to drink very little. So she really understands how Irish society makes this very difficult. Carol is responsible for all aspects of Lifewise operations that Valerie and Angela do not cover.

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