Alcoholism: Can we not socialise soberly?
A societal taboo that has become a norm. Everywhere I lived, I drank alcohol. It's what you do, right? But what if someone cannot handle their liquor? Where shall they seek help and what can we personally do to support them? My proposal is to build sober connections.
I have witnessed alcoholism first hand and the solution? Medicine. Pop to the pharmacy, stock up on pills that make you sick when you drink and you will be fine. Sounds about right? Not to me! The other option is therapy. Open up to a stranger, let them hear your life story and then maybe, MAYBE, they will come up with a solution to cure your addiction. And if not? Well, at least you tried.
Excuse the bitterness in my tone but I am fed up! Fed up with the lack of solutions to a problem that will most face an increasing proportion of our society. And why is that? Because we are lonely. Having done extensive research on loneliness, it is proved that it affects nine million people in the UK alone. Ever happened to you to be drinking by yourself?... You sure?
It’s not just the isolation and FOMO that make us scroll through Instagram and admire others instead of creating our own (real-life) stories. The drinking culture is another aspect that becomes a synonym to the way many Western citizens choose to spend their time with the peers. Let’s grab a pint after work, Pimms O’clock, beer pong, fancy a glass of wine, anyone? Drinking becomes the norm every time you go out. Yes, we can make a change, just like you can grab a cotton bag or a metal straw to help eliminate their plastic alternatives, but is that gonna make the society any better? I'd like to think so.
Every little change starts with a conversation...
And so I turn to you, my online friends, with a message and a touch of hope to go and talk to those affected by drinking (I mean, all of us?). Just like sex and nudity are still tabooed in our society (Vagina-nomics is working actively to change that), so is drinking. We do it because that’s the standard (and I’m generalising massively) but we forget to talk about it. At least in the societies I’ve lived in (the UK and the Czech Republic). But if we do realise that what are we doing is not exactly right, can we take some actions to change that? I believe that every little change starts with a conversation...
Having an alcoholic in my social circle and always hanging out with friends in the presence of alcohol, I realised that simply hiding all the alcohol away or finding alternatives will not do. I have done that with quitting meat and it’s been a hell of a journey to get to where I am today (100% vegetarian, hi!). Instead, I suggest having an open and honest conversation (with a glass of soda, not gin). Just ask someone how they are, offer them a ride, give a helping hand. A small gesture can go a long way. It makes a person feel at ease, safe and comfortable. It gives them confidence to speak out and be themselves.
Focus on human connections: Make them. Nourish them. And celebrate them.
Instead of a glass, reach for a book or make a phone call with a friend. I KNOW, it’s not easy, but I it’s a great way to start. Talk to your relatives, talk to your friends, maybe order a virgin cocktail instead of a pint (the sober bar is on rise: BBC). But, please, focus on human connections: Make them. Nourish them. And celebrate them. (Plus say goodbye to the hangover!)
Let’s make autumn a season of love, confession and honesty. By recognising the problems, we can make our lives better, more fulfilled, more meaningful. Because, regardless of how perfect we are all trying to be, we will never be flawless - and that’s what makes us all special, unique and beautiful. Cheers to the imperfections in all of us and to the non-alcoholic fun.