Saturday 10 December 2016

It's time to accept that alcoholism is not a disease

Published 02/07/2015 | 02:30

Every individual makes the initial choice to start drinking and, equally, it is up to the individual to make the choice to stop
Every individual makes the initial choice to start drinking and, equally, it is up to the individual to make the choice to stop

It's that time of the year again - the sun had finally decided to show its face while the sound of lawnmowers and the heady scent of neighbouring barbecues compete for our attention as the country gets ready to bask in the hottest week of the year.

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That means we will be exposed to the usual warnings about the dangers of drinking in the sunshine, although they are no different from the usual public service announcements we hear during the winter, or whenever there is a large occasion for national celebration.

We have a strange and vaguely obsessive relationship with drink in this country. It's an obsession which seems to burn most brightly in politicians and those self-appointed guardians of public morality who seem determined to paint anybody who has more than three pints in one sitting as a chronic binge drinker who is a menace to themselves and those around them. Of course, whether it's the powers-that-be suggesting that we raise the minimum price of a bottle of wine to a tenner, or whether we persist with forcing off-licences to close at 10pm, or whether we want to ban booze companies sponsoring events, there is always one thread common to these suggestions - the belief that people can't be trusted to take control of their own life or responsibility for their own actions.

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