Are You A Professional Alcoholic?
Years ago sometime @ the beginning of the previous decade I went for an interview for a job in sales. I had no sales background at the time and was asked pretty bluntly if I could entertain clients? In Ireland it meant whether I could play golf or whether I could hold my drink (s) while buying a few rounds to potential customers or business partners? I did not realize immediately but after the interview I wondered if in fact they were asking me if I was a professional alcoholic? In the end I got the job but shortly after we hired somebody who could play golf….
Business and alcohol have a troubled relationship I think the world of business is very unclear when it comes to its sulphurous, ambiguous and very unhealthy position on the topic it seems to have somewhat adopted double standards on its approach and rationale to defend its trade. I don’t know if it is an attempt to legitimate or inject some respectability in the process but drink is often quoted in the Food & Beverage category in business terms. The alcohol industry is a large contributor to the U.S. economy, in 2013 the revenue generated from the combined sales of beer, wine and distilled spirits totaled over $308 billion. Because alcoholic beverages are heavily taxed, increased sales lead to more revenue into local, state and federal coffers. In the UK only in 2011 the industry sold 38.1 billion pounds and exported for more than 6 billion pounds in 2012. Staggering numbers indeed but not only in terms of sales and revenue, Diageo alone employs around 25 000 people globally.
Almost like any addict the industry is full of tricks and contradictions, but listen while ``Diageo the manufacturer makes no health claims for its product, apparently scientific research shows that a pint of Guinness a day is actually good for your health. It is said it may work as well as a low dose of aspirin to prevent heart attacks according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin``. Next they would make us believe that milk is harmful and I suppose as long as we keep believing in those urban myths, the damage alcohol is making to our society by adding confusion and irresponsible bias will not help reversing the already unmanageable costs to our various health systems across the globe.
I am not on a rant against a particular social lifestyle and I understand the concept of consumption with moderation but honestly the path from social alcohol consumption to abuse and ultimately alcoholism is real. I agree not all alcohol abusers become alcoholics far from it but let’s not be kidding ourselves it is a big risk factor. Sometimes alcoholism develops suddenly in response to a stressful change, a breakup, a loss, a divorce or work related issues. It is often seen as a coping mechanism but it is very sneaky as it gradually creeps up on you as your tolerance to alcohol increases. Fridays Wine O’clock sessions may not make you a binge drinker and even if you drink every day you may not fall into that category but the risks of developing alcoholism are greater.
You may think I talk rubbish but I have seen the desire to drink so strong that it does blurry judgment on more than one of us and it always finds many ways to rationalize the logic behind drinking. Let’s be clear we can down play the addiction as much as we want, we can even have a social class point of view about it but the fact is you don’t have to be homeless to be an alcoholic. Spirits sellers, brewers all know this but when you start discounting beer packs and other alcopops the damage is done no matter how much you schizophrenically provide funds for alcohol prevention initiatives.
Personally I have never been a big drinker but I have had my fair share of hangovers in my younger days probably nothing more nothing less than your average westerner however around 5 or 6 years ago I have decided that I was done with it and frankly I don’t think there is any going back. For starter I am now full of energy with a clear mind functioning 24/7 and secondly it did me some good really, I live on my terms and I control the terms at all time.
While some snore their alcohol off on Saturday mornings, this does on the other hand coincide with one of my favourite and joyful moment of the week. Saturday morning is when I have a great discussion @ breakfast with my 7 year old daughter, we both review the week and this is priceless. So what? This is family standard you may say but I have also experienced two other unexpected consequences one being that I have surprisingly developed an ``addiction `` for Slim line Tonic water which probably has the big advantage to have boosted my level of quinine to a point where mosquitos fly away in the opposite direction when we sometimes meet.
The other one which has left me somewhat perplex at times is that I have found myself on more than one occasion (work or social) in the position of having to justify myself why I was not drinking alcohol. The questions very often come in pair past the first answer people almost always double check by asking me semi humorously if I have also stopped drinking wine, call it French paradox I suppose or maybe it is because of the high density of fruits in the drink that should constitute one of my five a day. I must say it is sometimes a lonely place and it would probably be easier to follow the herd especially as evenings at social events are concerned, in fine I think I probably make people uneasy as they reflect on their own consumption.
The morning after syndrome costs businesses and governments very dearly, Time.com says it did ``cost the US more than 200 Billion in 2006 in terms of lost productivity, health care expenses, criminal justice costs and other associated disorders`` and I would add that it did certainly require a lot of professionals to address those issues that year.
Like anything else I think everything is a question of understanding the cut- off point and setting a decision point. Now I am fully aware it is easier saying it than doing it and I am not here to patronize anybody, so call me kill joy, dogmatic and over the limit if you want. True too that it is probably not up to me to tell you what you should or should not do to lift up your spirit however you may allow me saying that whether it is work or family related you probably have greater things to do than being in the business of being
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