Sunday 19 November 2017

Even as we focus on addiction, we engage in denial

Paddy has a genius for avoidance when it comes to tackling our affinity for alcohol, writes Declan Lynch

It seems that our old friend the drink is still getting a free pass. Gerry Ryan had apparently been drinking and using cocaine on the day he died, yet in all the talk which ensued, there was hardly a mention of the drink.

Even as we appeared to be talking about the realities of addiction, we were somehow engaging in a deeper denial. Or maybe there is some realm beyond denial in which we actually don't regard alcohol as a mood-altering substance at all. We just don't see it in those terms. We don't see it at all.

There was a certain acknowledgement that cocaine may be uniquely unsuited to the Irish, due to Paddy's penchant for mixing it with large quantities of drink. Otherwise this story was all about cocaine, with our old friend John Barleycorn slipping out the back door almost unnoticed.

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