Oct. 3, 2021 – Worst of all is when, despite refusals, an alcoholic drink appears in front of you regardless. There’s a sense that teetotallers are Debbie-downers, ruining the party, dampening the high spirits of everyone else with their righteous, yawn-inducing alcohol-free presence.

The suspicion of non-drinkers exists incongruously alongside the dismissal and denigration of those dealing with alcohol dependence issues – as if alcoholism is a personal choice and a measure of individual morality rather than a chronic illness that requires medical treatment and compassion. I remember the pursed lips and tutting disapproval of my infant school teacher and it seems to me that nothing much has changed. I’ve witnessed people make the same noisy expression as they pass those with substance issues on the streets. We still blame addicts for their illness and yet we still perpetuate the conceit that drinking heavily is the marker of a good time – and that being able to “take your drink” is an indication of an impressively solid character and a reassuringly robust disposition.

By all means, support Sober for October – it’s for an excellent cause – but let’s not be hypocrites with our attitudes to the drinking habits of others. Now there’s a sobering thought.


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