Go on, Go on, Go on, Go on

Every day of the working week I see people in my work who struggle, to varying degrees, to cope with the reality of alcohol dependence and all of its consequences. Men and women, of all shapes and sizes by the way, who are human and vulnerable like the rest of us. Those in recovery have to learn to cope without alcohol in a society and culture that is deeply soaked and invested in booze. Marketting of alcohol is pervasive and powerful. People who almost by defintion are lacking in confidence have to cope with drinkers who push alcohol on to them at functions and parties. A community of Mr. and Mrs. Doyles (Ref; Father Ted) who encourage, bully, manipulate and cajole others to use alcohol. ‘Just have one’, ‘what’s wrong with you?’, ‘you are very quiet’ or ‘not much fun’, ‘let your hair down’, ‘don’t be a stick in the mud’ etc etc. A peculiarly Irish trait. No joke for those who want or need to abstain. On most of the continent if you are offered a drink it is just that – one drink, and if you say no, then it has no moral importance and you are not interrogated further!  In Ireland if you say you do not want to imbibe you are likely to be the subject to all forms of speculation and conjecture. Young women have the added problem that there are nods and winks that she might be pregnant. It is much more extreme when those in the company are the ‘worse for drink’. Such is the extent of this social pressure to conform that I spend quite a lot of time helping people to develop ‘scripts’ to have rock solid reasons for not drinking. Pressurising people to drink is so disrespectful and we should all be mindful that there are many individuals who find it hard to cope, for good reasons, in drinking situations.

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