One of the reasons so many people run into trouble with alcohol is the way it’s promoted in Western culture. It’s presented on TV, in films, in adverts, on posters, in shops, in restaurants, online, on social media and in songs as a normal and acceptable thing to turn to in a variety of situations:
- When you’re unhappy
- When you’re happy
- When you want to relax and unwind
- When you want to let go and have a good time
- When you want to socialise
- When you want to get creative
- When you’re dealing with grief
- When you’re celebrating
Alcohol is portrayed as a normal and acceptable response to a range of emotional and situational experiences. It’s no wonder that so many people turn to alcohol in these situations when they’re being told that this is what it’s for. What they’re not being told is how addictive and unhealthy it is.
And, the reason for the way alcohol is relentlessly marketed at us?
In the UK alone, although alcohol costs the public purse nearly £4.9 billion a year in health issues, medical emergencies and treatments, it generates around £16 billion a year. So, there is clearly an incentive for the government to want to continue promoting the sale and consumption of alcohol – an £11 billion a year incentive.
And, interestingly, drinkers who consume more than government guideline levels only make up 25% of the population but provide the alcohol industry with 68% of its revenue. What interest can the government have in reducing harmful drinking when harmful drinking is so profitable?
The only way the relationship our society has with alcohol is going to change is when significantly larger numbers of the population spend more money on non-alcoholic drinks. Where the demand is is where the money is. The more we change our behaviour and the more of us that ditch alcohol in favour of healthier soft drinks, the more profit there is in soft drinks. And, the more profit there is in soft drinks, the more they will be promoted.
I don’t think that these statistics and the relationship our culture has with alcohol are going to change within my lifetime. But I do think that we can make a difference slowly but surely. And we do this by saying no to being hoodwinked by the multi-billion dollar drinks industries and the governments that collude in making profit out of addiction and misery. The part we play in this is small but together, over time, it becomes significant.
Here’s an interesting article that goes into a bit more detail…https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/aug/23/alcohol-firms-would-lose-13bn-if-drinkers-in-england-stuck-to-limits