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Cigarettes And Alcohol

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Joined: 25 Mar 2005
Posts: 1376
Location: Leeds, West Yorkshire

PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2005 9:07 pm    Post subject: Cigarettes And Alcohol Reply with quote

Went to the pub for the first time in ages on boxing day. When you live with someone who has given up cigarettes and alcohol, you tend to refrain from drinking yourself, particularly at the beginning of their abstinence, to show moral support. Then it becomes habit, you get used to that lifestyle (not that I was ever a huge alcohol consumer in the first place). Quitters are usually the worst for complaining ie: he always starts coughing and complaining that he cannot breathe, with just one smoker nearby. But on this occassion, I found myself joining him in discomfort as the room was absolutely full of chimneys, who had absolutely no quarms about smoking around children. But then again, why bring kids into the pub in the first place? I hear you scream.

We sat with his parents and their friends who also had their 30-something daughters and a 3 year old grandaughter present. The little girl opened her mouth widely and said, "You know what? When I was a born, I was a tiny little baby!" Awwww - yes, that's true, so was I. And then she said, "When mummy is not here, daddy let's me drink beer." Everyone was laughing and joking, yet we two were horrified. "This is just the sort of behaviour you can expect from round here," my business partner tells me, "I know a guy who allows his 4 year old boy to sip lager." It's almost as if the children are being indoctrinated into the drinking culture from a young age, as if it's the norm.

The grandfather notices the non-alcoholic beverage and Phil explains that he no longer drinks or smokes. This is greeted with the reply "But what else is there is life?" which I am hoping is a sarcastic comment. There has always been alcohol in his house. He first got drunk at around age 3 or 4 by sneaking around the sofa to consume a bottle of sherry. So, no sooner had he learnt to walk, he was crawling again! And his parents have always unconsciously promoted the 'drinking is the way to go' motif and are at the local pub most days of the week. "We only had a couple," they'd say which we'd translate to mean at least 3 or 4.

What concerns us the most is not his parents but his brother who has admitted he is an alcoholic. He's in virtually the same situation Phil was in two years ago, waking up hungover and unable to breathe each day. Almost every time we see Paul he is wasted but his girlfriend refuses to acknowledge there is a problem. His parents agree to a certain extent but then arrange to meet him in the pub or offer him a port at midday without even thinking. In this environment, I fear he is doomed to an early grave. The only way Phil managed to escape alcoholism was by moving away to a less alcohol-fuelled household, where as his girlfriend (at the time) I supported him in his abstinence. (no, not sexual)

Don't get me wrong, I think consuming alcohol is fine, socially and in moderation but when your uncles are dying off one by one from lung & liver failure, surely it's time to question such liberal everyday attitudes to drinking and smoking. Guess where they spent the reception after the recent funeral? Yep, at the pub. - Jen
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Ian Moore

Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 680
Location: Forres, Scotland

PostPosted: Thu Feb 22, 2007 11:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I tend to not talk about my views on alcohol and cigarettes because I assume nobody wants to hear it, and I guess I don't want to be seen as some kill joy.

But to me alcohol and cigarettes are things that we teach ourselves to enjoy. Perhaps like oysters and cavier (I don't know, I've never tried them): they are not pleasant things to do, but we convince ourselves that they are ... well they must be! Everybody else is enjoying it - there'd have to be something wrong with me if I didn't!

The reason alcohol makes you drunk is because it is a poison - that's what drunkeness is, your body reacting to having a poison in its system! I realised once, when I was drunk, that feeling drunk doesn't feel nice at all. People are completely convinced that it does, you know: just the right level of drunkeness. I see it more as a tribute to the power of the mind. We can convince ourselves that anything is pleasurable if we try hard enough.

The 'pleasures' of cigarettes are even more difficult to pin down. The reason people have their legs amputated as a direct result of smoking is simple, like alcohol, cigarettes are poisonous to our bodies. The reason they are worth smoking anyway is ... er ... because they're so nice?

But I'm glad people are free, and that's why I don't go on about this stuff usually.
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