This is an ageless, classless illness, and one that is so very difficult to come to terms with. We all regret that we cannot be ‘normal’ drinkers, whatever they are, in the early days, but I often wonder if someone invented Alcohol today, would it every be legalized as fit for human consumption? For all the rigorous testing of each drug that comes to market, does anyone think honestly that it would be acceptable, or meet the N.I.C.E. guidelines? I somehow think not.
Every drug taken these days, whether prescription or non prescription, comes with lengthy information of the side effects. Warnings are issued, and if they weren’t, we the consumer, could sue if our health can be proven to have been compromised.
We keep being warned about our drinking, but in such a judgmental way, by people who have absolutely no idea of the real effects of harmful drinking, apart from looking a spread sheet, which are skewed at the best of times. Judgement and admonishing never stops a drinker, only makes them drink more. I have just read a report for example, that does show that middle class drinkers are often the silent alcoholics, but out of 600,000 that were asked to contribute, only 600 actually did, and can we be sure that those replies were completely honest? Somehow I doubt that too.
To put some perspective on this, I was told by a client, legal profession and very, very bright, that she thought when her journey began with wine o’clock, that drinking wine was not really drinking. At an average of 12.5% volume it most probably is! So it isn’t just denial, simply wine goggles a lot of the time.
If we were to put a warning label on wine, the list is so long and diverse that it would stretch to the supermarket to the vineyard where it came from, but surely the time has come to really get a grip of this, and at least have some kind of signals that certainly don’t remind us of the bouquet or a field of lavender, but more of a car crash or a cancer.