I think anyone that ever has questioned their relationship with drinking has probably realised just how ingrained alcohol is in our society. It’s literally everywhere, and promoted and pushed at us to remind us how normal and needed it is. Of course, once you stop drinking, you realise that’s not the truth, we do it because we’re conditioned to, until it becomes a habit or an addiction.
The thing is, the way society looks at alcohol can make it harder to break free from the alcohol trap. We feel we’re missing out and different from other people just by choosing not to drink. That can be tricky, particularly in the early days, but even now things catch me out.
Just recently I picked up a colouring book, you know the sort, the ones designed for adults to occupy them. I wanted one to distract myself from my phone in the evening, and also, the idea was that it would help me focus and be calm when I felt a bit anxious. I was quite careful choosing one, and picked one called, “Inspirational Quotes,” so imagine my surprise when part way through I found one that says, “Wine and Friends Make a Great Blend.” I’m not sure which part of this is meant to be inspirational, but the whole thing made me a bit cross. It’s not exactly what I was expecting, and I felt a bit let down to be honest. It’s the making light of drinking that makes it so frustrating. When it’s played down so much, and made into such a joke, that it makes it harder for people to acknowledge and face up to their problems. I know I looked everywhere I could for reassurance that I was okay, and little things like this colouring page would have been exactly what I wanted to see. It’s not helpful.
I wonder what we can do to change the perception of alcohol in society. I’m not saying that we should make alcohol illegal, or frown on everyone that drinks, but I do think it should be much less common place. Why can’t we look forward to a nice cup of tea instead of wine to relax and chat with our friends over? It’s what I do now, but back when I was in the midst of it, it seemed impossible to imagine living without wine.
These messages need to stop, and I’ll be honest, if I’d seen that message in the book before I bought it, I wouldn’t have paid any money for it. I would have chosen not to support the reinforcement in reliance on alcohol, but maybe that’s just me?
Take care of yourselves,