We know we drink to much as a society. We learn from a young age that occasions involve alcohol. Adults in our lives seem to have much more fun when drinking.
All the worries and fears melt away and a jolly old time ensues. The reality is that this altered mood doesn’t last, uncomfortable emotions, day to day bills and work follow on the next day.
But what are we teaching our kids in the meantime? In order to enjoy each others company, christenings, weddings - we must drink. It connects us. It does. But it also disconnects us from ourselves - and while this may be the point of alcohol (and I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a relaxing drink), it’s when one to many becomes the national norm, that a problem emerges. In a recent report by the HSE, Alcohol’s harm to others in Ireland, it was found that one in four people are affected by others’ harmful drinking.
These negative affects were seen in the workplace, the general population and in the home (children and families).
Functioning Alcoholics’ - A cultural trend
Are we in danger of becoming a culture of functioning alcoholics’? Have we normalised drinking to harmful levels? It seems normal for us to drink most nights, then go to work the next day, pay the bills, collect the kids, playtime, and have a drink (or five) once we get home, to relax.
But the problem is that this becomes a dependence. In order to wind down, we must have a drink. And the bigger problem is this; because we only see success and togetherness on the outside, this drinking behaviour is not classified as alcoholism. It adds to the denial of an already denied disease.
Who are we kidding - Our children are the next generation - we influence what they do
The key to changing our cultural trend lies with me and you. We first change ourselves and then we influence the world around us. It has been shown that children of parents who drink are more likely to drink also. But even if you use alcohol, there may be ways to lessen the likelihood that your child will drink as well.
1. Use Alcohol moderately
2. Don’t say to your child that alcohol is a good way to handle problems. For example, don’t come home from work and say, ‘I had a rotten day. I need a drink’.
3. Let your child see that you have other healthier ways of dealing with stress, such as exercise; talking your problems through with your partner/friend.
4. Don’t tell your kids stories about your own drinking in a way that conveys the message is entertaining.
5. Never drink and drive.
It’s time that we stop and reflect on the negative effects our drinking, has not just on ourselves, but on our family, children, work colleagues and our society at large. We have developed a social drinking pattern that is extremely harmful for us and the future generations. It is up to us to begin to chang