We are born alcoholics, and when you have a physical need for beer, the only solution is to feed that need.
Those are the words of The Sun newspaper columnist Jeremy Clarkson. I am not a reader of The Sun and I know nothing of Clarkson, in fact I only noticed his column because he had a photograph of Caprice showing off her fishnet stockings…well I am a bloke.
While ogling the fishnets I noticed that the text surrounding it concerned alcohol, and as I am a fan of that topic too, I decided to delve into the words with as much verve and vigor as I afforded Caprice. Clarkson was airing his views on David Cameron’s plans to deal with drunkenness. I try to avoid the news because it just drags me down, so it was good to hear that our leader is trying to do something to combat what is a real problem in our society. In a few weeks time I will be heading to Thailand for a fortnight’s holiday, and I recently heard that there was a terrorist attack in Bangkok. I should be worried and yet I am more terrified of walking the city centre streets after midnight than I am of dodging grenades in the Thai capital.
I first started to drink alcohol when I was 13-14 years of age. I stopped when I was 33, and apart from a six-week spell in the summer of last year I have remained sober. My son is eleven years of age and he has told me on several occasions how proud he is that I am teetotal. In fact after my six-week stint in the summer his face when he saw me ordering a bottle of wine was one of the reasons it was so easy to ditch the habit once more.
Drunkenness is nothing but voluntary madness
Just a few weeks ago my son told me that he wanted me to know that he was going to try alcohol when he was older. He told me that he has taken comfort from the fact that I have been able to stop, meaning he could also stop if he needed to. I asked him why he would choose to drink after listening to me explaining why I quit? He told me that everyone would be doing it and so he didn’t want to be any different.
Back to Clarkson and his column. I have to believe that it was half written in jest but there are some incredibly important points underneath the veneer. Clarkson thinks Cameron is facing an uphill battle because drinking alcohol is in the genes of the Northern European male and female. He says that telling us we can’t have any alcohol is like telling a zebra they can’t have any stripes and ends by saying the government can make as many noises as they like. It will not make the slightest bit of difference.
First the man takes a drink; then the drink takes a drink; then the drink takes the man
When I grew up I can only remember one person (a girl) who chose not to drink alcohol as we left school. For everyone else it was just a matter of time – fate as you will. In fact for most parents your first pint is almost a ceremonious celebration. When my 11-year old son decides he is going to drink alcohol, despite his Dad stopping because of the destruction it can cause, I have to admit that Clarkson is right. Getting smashed, fighting the world and falling into a coma has become a way of life for so many people. For the people who tell me that not everyone goes to these extremes – fine I agree with you – but just go down to Swansea on a Saturday night. The quiet little sip you have with your meal causes that destruction too.
But just because it has become a way of life, does not mean we cannot change? I am living proof that one day you can be so pissed you would gladly put your head through a window, for a laugh, but then realise how ridiculous this drinking lark is and just quit. I applaud Cameron and anyone else who are doing something to slow down this problem. I don’t applaud people like Clarkson, who seemingly use their influence to tell people they don’t stand a chance.
How do you feel about the state of our nations drunkenness issue?
My main sources of ideas come from things that I read. This could be books, magazines or as in this case newspapers. I am always interested in anything that I read about alcohol because it is a big passion of mine. I happen to believe that it is the most destructive crutch in the world. It destroys life and yet so many people cannot see it, because the illusion of pleasure it offers is indoctrinated into society.
I was angry with Clarkson because the article read a little flippantly. I imagined my son reading it and quoting this influential’s man’s words the next time we had a debate over the morals of drinking alcohol. Then I have to remind myself that he is entitled to his opinion and that I will anger his contingent of fans, with my morale high ground, inasmuch as he has angered me.
If you want to seek more help and guidance on these issues, and hang with like minded individuals who struggle with the same problems, then why not head over to the Needy Helper Hub
Photos courtesy of myself and Oneras (CC @ flickr.com)