Brendan O'Connor: 'I've hit rock bottom with the booze'
There was a great letter in the Irish Times the other day from a person who was concerned her parents had a drink problem. The parents were in their 50s and all the kids had flown the nest. And this person came back from Australia to discover that the parents had initiated cocktail hour at 5pm and the drinking went on from there every evening.
The father doesn't even go to the pub anymore. He and the mother just stay at home boozing it up. Christmas was especially bad. All they talked about was what drinks they would have and they laughed and joked about hangovers all the time. They slurred and flirted with their children's friends early in the evening. When this person tried to confront the parents on the drinking, they basically told her to lighten up a bit and the father suggested she needed to get a new boyfriend.
I'm not making light of this, but I can see the attraction of initiating cocktail hour in the house if there are no kids around to annoy you. Surveys generally show that lots of people feel they would like to drink less. I'm not one of those people. I would in fact like to drink more, and I believe there are many more out there in my position. We are a generation who had kids relatively late and who have high levels of debt necessitating working very hard. We are also a generation who tended to do the dog on the drink not only in our 20s but well into our 30s. Now, it's not so much that we are tending to give up drink, more that drink is tending to give us up.