Blimey. I’ve just taken the ‘have you got a drink problem’ test (via Bloggerheads) and I’ve got a nine, which means I’m well into the level of, well, having a drink problem. Thankfully I only scored one point on the later, very serious questions.
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this. I’m certainly not a heavy drinker, if I use the yardstick of measuring myself against the majority of people I know. I usually have a pretty good idea of when to call it a night or move onto water. I’ve only been ill from alcohol once in the past year. My idea of a good night out is not to get wasted. I don’t think I have a drink problem. But then I’m probably in denial.
But despite all that, I enjoy a drink, be it one of two after work, a glass of wine with a meal, or a night out. I’m probably one of those middle-class drinkers who’re slightly less evil than terrorists that politicians keep going on about, and will probably ensure my children grow up destitute. That’s if I was ever planning on having kids, which I’m probably not.
Some may move towards a more prohibitionist line, or an authoritarian health regime, which is never healthy. Remember as a kid, when we were told not to do something, and we did it anyway. Well, we’re still big babies and we’ll still do it even more. Plus I’m still firmly in the camp that drinking in itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Take Boris’s pledge to ban alcohol from the tubes. I frequently get the tube home late when there’s plenty of people drinking on it. Not once have I felt threatened.
Education of alcohol. Now that’s a different matter. Adverts telling people to drink sensibly, or similar messages in pubs are, largely, a load of bollocks. Most people seem to formulate their drinking habits in their teens and entrench them in their twenties and not much changes from there. We’ve all had one of those evenings followed by one of those mornings. To try and tell us that’s bad for us is as pointless as it is patronising.
At the risk of sounding like a politician here, what’s needed is a frank, mature discussion of alcohol and its effects at pre-teen level onwards. And that means proper learning, not just “drinking is bad, don’t do it, but if you do, don’t drink too much”  but a proper discussion, getting teenagers to think about drinking and the consequences of drinking but not moralising or talking about daily limits and targets and all manner of statistics we often get bombarded with. And certainly not telling people how much they should or shouldn’t be drinking.
Ou attitude to alcohol is, like most other things today, largely infantile. That goes for drinkers, politicians and health gurus. It’s so interwoven into the fabric of our society, and enjoyable to boot, that its difficult to shift the mindset, but in my mind, that’s the answer. Not finger-wagging or bans.
That’s not going to stop me taking a short period off the booze starting from next week. And the reason for that is also rather infantile. I’m getting a bulge and I’d like to get a bit fitter and tone my stomach up a bit, and generally give my body a bit of a cleanse. Not drinking alcohol will help. Plus I could do with saving cash after spending ridiculous amounts of money on dentist bills.
Why next week? Well, Exeter are at Wembley on Sunday and I’m buggered if I’m getting through that without a drink. Which probably means I have a problem. But then I turned down the offer of a pint this evening and made a concious effort when to stop drinking last night. So that probably means I’m an alcoholic on alternate days.
 Which is much like the sex education I had at school. A bad and patronising video, then a quick message of “sex is bad. But if you must do it, use a condom”. They might as well just got a couple of rabbits to copulate on the teacher’s desk for all that I learnt from there.