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Mandatory alcohol abuse Options
March Hare
Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016 3:14:09 AM

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Location: Zedelgem, Flanders, Belgium
I'm a teetotaler, but where I live this isn't always easy. There seems to be a constant social pressure to drink alcohol, even in unhealthy amounts, and a non-drinker is regarded by many as either slightly mad or a party pooper, or both.

However, it is a known fact that alcohol is far from healthy. When taken with moderation, i.e. at most one glass per day for a woman, or two per day for a man, it may have some healthy side effects, but any larger quantities are known to drastically increase one's chance of getting cancer and various other diseases, such as liver cirrhosis. And then we're not even looking at the chance of getting addicted to the stuff, and the nefarious influence it has on the brain.

So why is it that, despite all that, getting drunk seems almost an obligation to many? And is this a global phenomenon?
Lotje1000
Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016 3:40:13 AM

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I read a (Belgian) article on binge drinking just yesterday in which an ER-doctor spoke of how he'd see otherwise perfectly healthy kids die because they'd had half a bottle of whisky or vodka in their system. Spirits were worse than beer, he said, in part because they continue to be absorbed by your body after you've passed out.

His statements were followed up by those of a teen girl who'd drank herself into a coma at one point. She was at home with a friend and they'd bought three bottles of vodka and a bottle of wine. Once they got to drinking, she found her friend drank much slower than she did and somehow felt like she had to make up the difference by drinking faster. They finished the bottles they'd bought and dug into the parents' liquor cabinet for some rum and whisky.

On a more personal anecdote, a student who lived in the same building I did was celebrating his 18th birthday. Together with his friends he got drunk and they later on decided to go out to drink some more. He came back not long after (he'd forgotten something), stumbled up and down the stairs, vomited loudly in the bathroom and shouted incoherent nonsense. He ended up knocking on my door for help and as soon as I opened it, he toppled sideways and fell on the floor. I gave him a bucket and stayed with him while he rambled that he was dying and, as I wasn't sure what to do and didn't know how much he'd had to drink, I ended up calling an ambulance for him. The men who came to pick him up told me that this was not what their service was for and I shouldn't have bothered them with this, but they took him to the hospital anyway.

When he was back the next day, the student himself was grateful, however, if quite embarrassed. He told me his friends had given him beer as well as spirits before going out, and they'd let him go back home by himself.

You think people would have more common sense in taking care of themselves and others.

fairyhouse
Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016 5:51:41 AM
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Location: Dublin, Leinster, Ireland
The situation here in Ireland is much the same as in Flanders. There is, and always was, a drinking problem here. My nephew who dined and wined, had race horses and was extremely wealthy (but grossly obese) dropped dead yesterday while sitting on the toilet.He was 54.

I am now an older and wiser citizen and have observed all my life the drinking culture. It is such a destructive pastime and is it not amazing how drinkers make little of others who do not drink large quantities? It is only when one reaches their forties that the body starts to disintregate. Drinking using common sense is a pleasant experience. Everything in moderation is the best advice for a satisfying lifestyle but it takes courage not to become a drinker. However,the payoff is more than well worth it.

fairyhouse7
OnTheVerge
Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016 6:10:29 AM

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March Hare wrote:
I'm a teetotaler, but where I live this isn't always easy. There seems to be a constant social pressure to drink alcohol, even in unhealthy amounts, and a non-drinker is regarded by many as either slightly mad or a party pooper, or both.

However, it is a known fact that alcohol is far from healthy. When taken with moderation, i.e. at most one glass per day for a woman, or two per day for a man, it may have some healthy side effects, but any larger quantities are known to drastically increase one's chance of getting cancer and various other diseases, such as liver cirrhosis. And then we're not even looking at the chance of getting addicted to the stuff, and the nefarious influence it has on the brain.

So why is it that, despite all that, getting drunk seems almost an obligation to many? And is this a global phenomenon?


All the things you say are true. I used to drink quite a bit and stopped years ago when I was told by a specialist that I had contracted Hepatitis and that I was well on my way to destroying my Liver. I see this the World over, here in the US and Ireland, Britian France and Italy...Just to name a few. In the States it's like people are in a race to see wat they can kill themselves from first.... Alcohol and drugs, OBESITY, or BOTH
Your 1st paragraph is the most telling., It seems the more people drimk, the more they feel like they have to get everyone else to join in the 'fun', which is really just misery loving company. Why do they want you to drink

If the people you hang with give you a hard time about not drinking, just ignore it. Let it be them who dies of cirrhosis.
You can also let them know that what they say when they're sober makes so much more sense than what they say when they are drunk and just blabber on about useless nonsense.


OTV

The world will never starve for want of wonders, but only for want of people who wonder.
thar
Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016 8:15:16 AM

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Where I live some people drink a lot, and some hardly at all. I find it does determine my choice of friends. I hardly drink - I am not teetotal, nothing against it, but I haven't found many alcoholic drinks I like, it is expensive, and the people I see drinking - they think they are happier with it, but I am there the next morning when they complain about how bad they feel, and I don't see people 'happier' drunk. I look around and see myself happier, sober and with friends or doing something fun, than some of the people around my trying to 'get' happy.

I have a Muslim friend in England (non-drinker from religious teaching) who asks me 'how long since you had a drink?' or 'when did you stop drinking?'. Like I made the pledge never to drink again. I try to explain I haven't stopped, tell him it is probably a few months - I try to think back to the last party where I had something to drink, or the last time I bought a bottle of something for home) - it has probably been a couple of years now. But is is no big deal. I might have something to drink tomorrow, or not for months. And if I do have something to drink, I won't get drunk. It is like asking the last time I had pineapple - there is not a conscious decision to abstain from pineapples either! I could fancy a pineapple tomorrow, but I wouldn't keep eating them until I was sick, either.

I tell him it is no big deal - I never 'stopped drinking' - but I think he as a real problem with the concept. But I think his 'outsider's' (religion-based teetotal) view, is shared by many 'insiders' who are 'allowed' to drink, that either you drink (a lot), or you have somehow 'opted out' from that default mode.
March Hare
Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016 2:55:29 PM

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Location: Zedelgem, Flanders, Belgium
Hi thar,

It's interesting that you don't seem to experience any of the social pressure to drink that I discussed. Here, I constantly see people pressing drinks on others, even when those others said they really shouldn't, or even if they still have to drive. If someone refuses one alcoholic drink, they will be offered another kind, because if you don't drink, you're not having fun, and if you don't offer drink, you're not a good host. And if you don't like drink (as is the case for me), you have to learn how to drink (which I absolutely refuse). Not everyone is like this, of course, but it's impossible to ignore this trend.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016 5:38:02 PM

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Getting drunk is something else, and having a couple of beers is another thing.


In the beginning there was nothing, which exploded.
MelissaMe
Posted: Monday, July 18, 2016 9:19:38 PM

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I feel that if you want to cook well, a nice bottle of drinkable white wine is mandatory to deglaze a pan after food is sauteed. Yum!

This is my only now.
Tovarish
Posted: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 10:22:38 PM

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Gee March Hare, you wouldn't be vilified down here, you would be appointed the designated driver.

I enjoy family, alcohol, good friends and good food with or without a festive reason to so.
March Hare
Posted: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 1:54:27 AM

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As a matter of fact, Tovarish, I always am the designated driver. But that makes it all the more disturbing that people keep trying to make me drink alcohol.
Tovarish
Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2016 1:04:53 AM

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Oh that's not fair MH, the rules down here are any DD is shouted free non-alcoholic drinks all night.

Buy offering you alcoholic drinks defeats the purpose.
March Hare
Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2016 1:37:43 AM

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Ah, if only. Maybe I should move to Australia Think
Kerry.P
Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2016 2:50:14 AM

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As you can see - I live in Australia.

Some years back I met a young woman (in her early 20s) who had become an alcoholic at age 13. She'd been dry for 3 or 4 years when I met her.
I admired her courage and strength to admit and overcome that huge craving and wondered if I could do such a thing.

I was, and still am, only a social drinker so I thought it would not be an issue.

Within a month I'd caved in to a friend's request to join her with a glass of wine at dinner as she didn't like to drink alone.

So the next day I started again.

As you have said March Hare, the pressure to drink can be enormous. Previously I'd found that it was easy if I said 'yes' and then just sipped or ignored my drink. But this time I wanted to travel the road that this young woman travelled.

Most people felt threatened by me when I gently declined. Often they were affronted and behaved as if I'd insulted them. At no time did I speak dismissively to them, nor imply that they were drinking inappropriately. If they pressed me I explained what and why I was making this choice.

I stayed 'dry' for over a year and then made my choice to drink or not, on each occasion my decision depended entirely on whether I felt like it (and whether or not I was driving).

That experience, plus other life experiences, have given me valuable lessons, one of which is that life is way too short to drink bad wine - or spirits! Dancing
Ursus Minor
Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2016 3:14:01 AM

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Kerry.P wrote:
life is way too short to drink bad wine! Dancing





Too many useless words, Kerry. But the conclusion is right.Angel
pedro
Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2016 8:51:06 AM

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Beware of stopping drinking suddenly. You will lose your old friends before you have time to make new ones(unless you are happy with the idea of conveying truckloads of rowdy drunken sots).

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
Tovarish
Posted: Thursday, July 21, 2016 10:19:57 PM

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Different situations, I hear it all the time, I'll only have one drink, or I am driving or I have to work nights from tonight, or early start

tomorrow, so they are drinking Zero or Pepsi Max.

We have under .05 breath testing here and no one wants to gamble with their licenses, so possibly the friends who are abstaining need to be a

little more forceful.

I wouldn't drink bad wine either Kerry, use it for Drano instead.
Tovarish
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 2:47:15 AM

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This question has been bothering me, If you find it difficult to say no to alcohol, how do you say no to drugs?
March Hare
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 3:52:17 AM

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Tovarish wrote:
This question has been bothering me, If you find it difficult to say no to alcohol, how do you say no to drugs?


I suppose the fact that drugs are actually illegal could make it more acceptable to say no, although I must admit that I have no experience with this whatsoever.

Kerry.P wrote:

Most people felt threatened by me when I gently declined. Often they were affronted and behaved as if I'd insulted them. At no time did I speak dismissively to them, nor imply that they were drinking inappropriately. If they pressed me I explained what and why I was making this choice.


That's also my impression. For some reason, many people seem to take it as a personal attack if you don't drink as well.
Lotje1000
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 5:40:24 AM

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Tovarish wrote:
We have under .05 breath testing here and no one wants to gamble with their licenses, so possibly the friends who are abstaining need to be a little more forceful.


If I remember correctly, it's quite difficult to get a license in Australia. I assume it must be equally difficult to get it back when you lose it. In Belgium, however, even for serious offences, it seems like no one loses their license for more than a couple of weeks at best. It doesn't act like much of a deterrent.

March Hare wrote:
For some reason, many people seem to take it as a personal attack if you don't drink as well.

People who are drinking enjoy it (among other things) for the release of responsibility, a feeling of letting go. This feeling of abandoning daily pressures can feel compromised when someone next to you is being responsible and reminding you that the rules are still there.
Tovarish
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 5:57:29 AM

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Good point Lotje, so you feel they see a non drinker as their conscience?.

The courts are serious about drink drivers, loss of license, usually in increments of 3 months and large fines for low

range, mid range is appropriately tougher, up to jail (gaol) and all of the above for high range, there are fools that still drink and drive.
Lucie
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 8:26:09 AM
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This is a really interesting topic. Due to medical reasons, I stopped drinking about 10 years ago (and never enjoyed drinking prior to that because I hate the taste of every type of alcohol I've tried), and I have found that while I am never pressured to drink by friends who are drinking, I will always be pressured by strangers if I happen to go to a bar to hang out with friends. Like some others here, I always volunteer to be designated driver at these outings, since I cannot have alcohol (absolutely cannot mix it with my medication!) and therefore will not even be tempted. But strangers at the bar (always men), will still try to pressure me to drink, and if I explain that I am the designated driver (I see no reason to tell random men at bars about my medical issues), they will just scoff and tell me to get a taxi! I find this harassment by strangers to be very irksome, and as such, I will usually avoid outings at bars or pubs. Since leaving college, I have never felt pressured by friends to drink when in private homes. I have always lived in the US, for reference.

I don't know if there are any Koreans in this forum, but I spent some time there a couple of years ago, and the drinking culture in South Korean is quite intense. There is a certain social hierarchy that makes it nearly impossible to avoid drinking if someone senior to you offers you a drink. Many workplaces have mandatory social gatherings at the end of the long work day in which the entire work team is required to join in for food and drinks, and if you do not join in, you will basically become an outcast. At least, this was the impression I got as an outside observer, and from what I have been told by Koreans.

pitulush
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 12:47:39 PM

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"Their conscience" – nicely put. I guess it's like you were comfortably sitting in the dark and enjoying your drink and then someone turns the light on and suddenly there's a a spotlight on you, drinking is not "what everyone does" anymore, you're feeling betrayed/abandoned and you become self-conscious. It's the same as when a friend who used to be sedentary like you starts working out. Or a friend who used to complain about the same stuff you did decides it's time to change their life and starts doing things differently.

It's like when you keep doing or saying the same thing and a friend or a relative listens and agrees with you without challenging you, so you keep acting the same. Until someone else, maybe a more enlightened or courageous friend or a therapist or simply a stranger who doesn't really give a shit about your problems reacts differently and contradicts you or points out what you're doing wrong. It helps you see things in a different light and you suddenly become (painfully) aware of your ways and your patterns. It hurts, but it could be the first step in making a change. But man, does it hurt.

When I used to smoke I neved did so in public unless there was at least one other person smoking; otherwise I would've felt too much in the center of attention so I would rather hide in a corner or go outside in the cold to smoke (until recently, smoking was allowed inside public places here) or just refrain from smoking and deal with my withdrawal symptoms and be miserable while no one else was the wiser :D Still better than lighting up and having everyone notice!

It's interesting that this pressure from drinkers can actually be felt as "harassment", I've never thought of it that way. I don't think they're aware that they're harassing you, though. The same way bullies don't realize they're being bullies. You're just straying from their idea of normalcy and that's how they deal with someone breaking the unspoken rule that everyone should drink. They're a bit shocked maybe.

The last few years I started drinking very little and only on special occasions, but even then, way less than most people there. On New Year's Eve there was a girl who couldn't drink because of medical issues, I guess? Not sure, I haven't asked her or "harrassed" her about it, although I admit I found it a bit strange at first too, but then I couldn't care less about it. Her husband on the other hand wouldn't stop drinking. That's ok too, to each their own. Until he started insisting that I drink more, because it's a special night so I should be more reckless. I explained to him that I feel better when I only drink a little bit: time moves too quickly for me if I get tipsy or, worse, drunk, so I don't actually get to enjoy myself and afterwards I don't remember much. He dismissed my reasons and kept pouring me drinks and insisting I drink – of course, I didn't give in, but I felt like he actually needed someone else to be drunk so that he wasn't the only one (as a matter of fact he wasn't, there were two of them). I didn't find it annoying because he's cool and I know he was just trying to have fun, but I would've been annoyed if it had been a random guy at a bar!

I think this too will change in time and people will realize that it's ok not to drink and there can be any number of reasons for that and it's none of their business to find out what they are, unless that "weird" nondrinker chooses to tell you. Cheers! :D

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/lifestyle/news/a43369/i-dont-drink-dont-judge/
Tovarish
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2016 11:23:14 PM

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How would ordering a 'mocktail or a Shirley Temple' go with these people who wont take no for an answer?

Followed by 'What the F part of No thank you don't you understand'?

followed by my Aussie friend Tovarish (Tov) told me this was perfecty acceptable language.

I would insert a 'Darling' or two in there some where.

Too much?
pitulush
Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2016 7:31:46 AM

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Tovarish wrote:
How would ordering a 'mocktail or a Shirley Temple' go ...


This reminds me of another story.

I was having a drink with a guy once. He got a beer and I got… *gasp* a virgin cocktail! I just wasn't in the mood for alcohol. After I ordered, the guy gave me a weird look and said: "You know, you can get something with alcohol in it. I'm not trying to get you drunk and take advantage of you." No comment.


(Edited to add: he wasn't joking.)
FounDit
Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2016 10:53:59 AM

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Ah, the old Acceptance/Rejection principle at work.

I think people who enjoy drinking, and that's the majority of them, don't understand folks who don't like it, or don't want to drink.

When I was a young man, I tried to fit in, drinking with my friends, but really never liked the taste, or the after-effects. I woke up one morning lying face down on the end of a diving board over a swimming pool. Good thing I didn't roll over.

Since then, I rarely drink. If I went out dancing, I would have two or three, then switch to cola or something non-alcoholic for the remainder of the night. That was all I wanted. At other times, I simply said no, and drank a soda or something. Strangely, no one ever gave me any grief over that. They drank, I didn't. It was that simple. Maybe it was the way I said it, or maybe my personality, I don't know, but it was always okay.

If the people you're with are not okay with that, then you have to make them okay with it. Done deal.


We should look to the past to learn from it, not destroy our future because of it — FounDit
Tovarish
Posted: Saturday, July 23, 2016 11:43:25 PM

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Great stuff pitulush and FD, since Jesus played football for Jerusalem men (no offense FD) have tried to get ladies tipsy.

Possibly because I am of the stoic farm girl type I have been able to drink most men under the table, where most intended to be originally.

Now that I am of the older vintage no really does mean no. I do think you are correct, it has a lot to do with how you say it.
Priscilla86
Posted: Thursday, August 11, 2016 8:17:28 AM

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FounDit wrote:


If the people you're with are not okay with that, then you have to make them okay with it. Done deal.


Or, another way of looking at it (and you may not like it) is that it's time to find new friends.


The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.
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