I’m having another go at media coverage of binge drinking because I’ve been asked to talk about it in my next Publican column.
Even Google is biased: I needed a stat yesterday for the (GROWING) number of teetotallers in the UK. I typed into Google “What percentage of the UK population is teetotal?” and the first page of hits was dominated by links titled “What percentage of the UK population suffers from alcohol abuse?” You just can’t win.
The seventh link down was to a PDF of a booklet called Alcohol and Drinking Problems, published by Family Doctor Publications Limited in association with the British Medical Association.
There’s a cartoon strip illustrating a case study of a man who used to drink a bit too much, and now doesn’t. It’s so bad it’s almost good!
First thing – as work pressure gets to Mr Roberts and he turns to alcohol to solve his stress problems, guess what drink he turns to? That’s right! A pint of ale, that well-known heavy alcoholic hit so beloved of problem drinkers.
See how the pint of ale makes him use threatening body language to his exasperated wife when he gets home. He’s probably very close to beating her.
And then, the serious medical consequences – his blood pressures is “a little high”! See how the doctor immediately, with no discussion or further tests, KNOWS with absolute certainty that the “a little high” blood pressure is linked to drinking (and not the work stress that drove Mr Roberts to drink in the first place).
So he gives up drinking, and now he doesn’t drink he’s a good father to his son, helping him with his homework instead of getting boozed up in the pub. Ale drinkers never help their kids with their homework, I bet. And the work stress, the high blood pressure, and probably every other problem he’s had, have all gone away. He’s even had time to change into some casual clothes instead of the dishevelled suit he wore all the time when he was drinking.
I love that the title of the page is ‘Understanding Alcohol’ – the people who put it together clearly don’t.