Monday, October 17, 2011

Blame it on the alcohol

Over the past few weeks I have read news articles about behaviour that has been attributed to alcohol.

When I was in my late teens I told my (then) boyfriend that people could not use alcohol as an excuse for bad behaviour; even at 18 I knew that! Then I kissed someone at a party and ended up telling my boyfriend that “I was drunk”; he threw my words back in my face and said “you told me that being drunk is not an excuse”.  Bugger!

While I understand that alcohol can affect your judgement I DO NOT accept it as an excuse for bad (illegal, malicious etc.) behaviour.  Seriously, at what point does alcohol affect your judgement so much that you cannot tell the difference from right and wrong?  Or perhaps alcohol just lowers the inhibitions of certain people so that their natural predilection towards violence or inappropriate behaviour comes out.

I hate to say it, but at the end of the day if you “lose” control then you need to seriously look at the volume that you are drinking and why. Like the advertisements say “it’s not what we are drinking, it’s how we are drinking”.  The message does not seem to be getting through.  People are still drinking and driving, violence is still breaking out, and people are still dying on our roads, assaulting and/or killing others or sexually assaulting people.

I am sure that there have all been times when people have over-indulged, but the majority do not lose control of their senses and murder, rape, start fights, damage property etc. This does not justify getting “smashed” but I am just trying to explain that people do get drunk and do not lose it.

In my opinion we have a pretty shocking drinking culture in New Zealand. It needs to be addressed and measures taken to try and turn this around. It would be easy to focus on the younger generation as being the majority of the problem, but it is not just them. We have people in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s binge drinking and ending up losing control. So, to say that there is not a binge drinking problem in New Zealand is pure ignorance.

So what do we do about it?

- Stop turning a blind eye when you see people that are obviously over the limit and out of control. The ‘Who are you’ clip really sums up my point about not turning a blind eye

- Discouraging bars/restaurants to stop serving people that are obviously intoxicated and send them home via taxi

- Flipping the message that it is “cool” to stay sober vs. being “cool” is getting so wasted that you vomit and pass out. Listener article about teen drinking culture

- Being a responsible host and “always” providing food with alcohol. Having a few sober people that can drive others home

- Limit the number of drinks available per person i.e. 3 standard drinks per person? I.e. do not over cater with alcohol

What do you think? Do you even think there is a problem?


  1. I think the key word is definitely "culture". It's the same in Australia.
    I agree - blaming horrific crimes on alcohol is just disgusting. There has to be something lurking inside of you that you're not dealing with properly before you start drinking. I have never had the urge to damage property or hurt anyone when I've gotten drunk in the past!

    Everyone has to be accountable for their actions. If you don't want to lose control, you shouldn't drink in the first place - that is your first opportunity to make a good choice.
    Problem is, I think people like the idea of losing control.

    I think people need to be told how lame it is to need alcohol to have "fun". Maybe a social campaign which shows how boring a person must be if they can't just be "cool" or "fun" or "adventurous" without the help of a substance might work over time. This kind of cultural change doesn't happen overnight though. It takes persistence.

  2. @Kez I am exactly the same when I have been drinking. I have never gotten violent or done anything illegal etc.

    I think that people can have fun without alcohol...or even without drinking to excess.