Monday, November 15, 2010

Binge drinking makes me squirm

I had a friend come to stay a while back; she stayed with us for two nights while her husband and his friend stayed in town in a motel (they had a social sport tournament they were playing in). These guys basically took the weekend as an opportunity to drink. And drink they did. Between them they had 24 bottles of beer in the car and three jugs at a pub they stopped at (for my overseas readers a NZ jug holds 2 pints) on the trip to our town while my friend drove the car. They played their game the next day and afterwards went right back to drinking. They were still drunk for the trip home on the final day.

My friend was fine with this. It was her husband and his mate and nothing to do with me. Yet it made me feel deeply uncomfortable. These guys had a great weekend, broke no laws, their spouses were okay with them blowing off steam and no one got hurt. So why does it bother me? Heck, in my early twenties I would binge drink at parties.

I guess I should own up. I am a member in my first year of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association. Provided I abstain from alcohol for a year I will become a lifelong member forever giving up my beloved gin and tonics. (dear scientists, PLEASE make a non-alcoholic gin for me, much appreciated - Muerk)  My husband drinks - a beer after a mowing the lawn, or a red wine with dinner. Although he will drink low alcohol beers as freely as the normal strength stuff. He doesn't get drunk on the basis that we have kids and hangovers and small children being perky at 6am don't mix but the man is a West Coaster born and bred and he likes his drink.

The reason I joined the Pioneers was because of my father who was an alcoholic to the point it killed him. He didn't grow up around me though so I never had to experience his liquored up behavior but it has left me with the desire to pray for alcoholics. Also crime in Greymouth is often related to alcohol - drunk guys getting into fights etc., so that was another reason to become a Pioneer.

I think what this shows me is that my attitudes to alcohol have changed since I was in my twenties. Drinking because you enjoy the taste, a good wine or a smooth whiskey, seems fine to me, but now drinking to get drunk, drinking booze like using a recreational drug, is something I don't agree with anymore. Partly because of the personal health effects, but also because it just isn't good for our society and our families. People can do things they regret when drunk. What's the difference between getting out of it on alcohol or cannabis other that one is legal?