Will he or won’t he?

Drink alcohol that is.

When people discover my background, I am often asked this question,

Do you think that you’ll ever drink alcohol again?

My answer is usually the same, I advise that I am not a fortune teller and have no way of absolutely and definitely predicting how I will behave in the future. However having not drunk any alcohol for approaching eight years and possessing extensive knowledge of it I feel that it is very unlikely.

I often witness expressions of sheer horror when I announce that my remaining years or decades of life will be lived without using alcohol. I have some empathy with how they may be feeling as when I decided to stop drinking I simply could not imagine my life without alcohol. The thought of experiencing the world how it really is all of the time without being able to ‘get away’ from myself was difficult to imagine.

However things are very different now. I regularly visit pubs to listen to music or eat, sometimes both. Fortunately I am not tempted to drink alcohol and will often watch the decline of some of the other customers as they go through the process from sober and functioning to drunk and incapable.

In fact I probably spend more time spending money in pubs now than I ever did when I was drinking alcohol, and given the level of tax and duty involved I expect that the landlords are seeing more profit from the food and soft drinks than they are from the beer, wine and spirits.

Some observers have suggested that I should avoid pubs and bars, maybe even the alcohol sections in the supermarkets in case I feel the urge to have a sudden relapse and start emptying the shelves on the spot and drinking myself into oblivion. It has even been suggested by some that I will probably resume drinking when I experience the next ‘major’ life event such as the loss of someone close.

Fortunately I understand that alcohol will never change anything, only temporarily alter my perception of it and it will just make me feel different for a while. I can relax without, socialise without it and I have resolved many of my underlying fears and issues so that I can live without feeling the need to drink it.

I don’t drink alcohol because I choose not to. I am ‘fortunate’ in that I have experienced both ends of the scale, full blown dependence and alcoholism and living without drinking it.

So will he or won’t he?

I don’t see the point of drinking it now to be honest, but then I would say that wouldn’t I?

2 comments for “Will he or won’t he?

  1. 13 September, 2012 at 10:11

    Hello Peter,

    Many thanks for taking the time to comment.

    There are a number of mixed messages about alcohol, some claim its good for health, some claim its bad for health, some promote ‘responsible’ use of alcohol while others advocate banning it.

    The perceived consequences to the population of drinking alcohol in fiscal and medical terms are still below the perceived benefits in terms of duty, taxation, employment, distribution, advertising and exports.

    The alcohol habit has been developed over thousands of years and is often seen as an essential part of being an adult. It is interesting to note that this is the only drug that it legal and contributes to the deaths of more people in the UK than all of the other illegal drugs put together, but it remains legal. More mixed messages.

    There is no easy answer but admitting that there are serious and unresolved underlying reasons in our society for the use of alcohol for the purposes of self medication may be a start. It is however unlikely to be a vote winner so I’m not expecting to see it any time soon!

  2. Peter Hanley
    12 September, 2012 at 11:51

    Living without the need to drink alcohol. What a fantastic place to be!

    Unless of course you’re in the alcohol production industry. Government pushes to improve the economy, must surely mean the pressure on society to drink more alcohol will increase.

    Clearly the competing needs of economy and society well-being are clashing.

    What would you suggest people do Colin in the face of competing demands on them: support the economy or support their own health. Can both demands be met somehow?

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