The chancellor wants us out. But not just out – he wants us Mickey Flanagan OUT, out. In a bid to boost Britain’s night-time economy, he’ll cover the food bill if we get the drinks. Happy hour culture is back. But please, save the cork popping.
Last week, I had a life-changing hangover. This hangover I will remember viscerally until the day I shuffle off this mortal coil, which felt likely the day in question.
Physically, it was symptomatically A&E worthy food poisoning. Mentally, it was panic attack meets sudden grief. Every evil or worrisome situation my memory could conjure up took part in my brain’s “bad stuff” variety show. To misquote Carlsberg, it was probably the worst hangover in the world.
This abusive relationship has been going on too long. I’ve decided that alcohol and I are over. Our dysfunctionality surpasses Johnny Depp and Amber Heard. “Drink responsibly” has served as a lifelong paradox and precisely nothing good has ever happened after drinking alcohol, bar the conception of my five-year-old son, perhaps.
No amount of alcohol is right for me. I take medication that does interact with it, I have a family history of alcohol problems, and taxis are expensive. All this chemical impairment is crucifying me, robbing my body and brain in plain sight.
The social acceptability of alcohol will never cease to baffle me, and yet I still partake, like a weak-minded lemming queueing up to throw myself off the cliff. If they were going to glorify and conveniently tax just the one drug and then push it as a social obligation, then couldn’t it have only been any of the others? ANY.
Every big mistake I have made in my life has involved alcohol. Alcohol is pretty much the worst drug in terms of harming oneself and harming others. But, along with the even more pointless nicotine, it’s the only legal one there is. We’re more stressed than ever, so naturally we need something to liberate us and options are limited – so it’s no wonder this disgrace of a substance has managed to reign supreme.
Alcohol is our national hobby. We drink to celebrate, drown our sorrows because there’s nothing like a depressant to chase away the blues. Our culture celebrates anyone who can drink a lot like they should be immortalised with a statue that won’t be thrown in the river. These are the good times, apparently.
Abstaining is almost as socially unacceptable as using illegal drugs. Try not drinking at a party, and it not be remarked on. Can you imagine anything else provoking such a defensive reaction? “But why do you not want a starter? Why?” When you don’t drink, you’re perceived as unable to let your guard down, suspicious, and downright just not fun.
So I drink. I drink through perceived social awkwardness, through low self-esteem, through the first awkward hour of a gathering. I have had to drink to have a good time. For me, tipsy is roughly translated to “less internally awkward, less outwardly coherent”.
Generations from now will look back at this time of humanity that would intentionally poison itself, impair its functionality and damage its internal organs for a “good time”. There are other far more therapeutic means to alter your consciousness, but I’ll save the warped drugs hierarchy for another time. For now, binge watch Netflix rather than binge drink tequila – trust me, it will feel way better.
I’m not trying to guilt-trip anyone, instead note that it’s a horrible hobby that our nation has.
I wish alcohol had never been invented. The world would be a better place. But it has, so now we can only hope that drinking alcohol in 10 years will be thought of the same way smoking cigarettes is — a terrible idea and very, very bad for us.