Monday, March 04, 2013


I've been watching Des Bishop's Under the Influence on TV (he's an american comedian living in Ireland) and it's very funny and so true. He does know us well as he jokes in his show.

The programme is about the amount of alcohol drunk in Ireland and the attitudes of most Irish people to alcohol. There's a lot of peer pressure in Ireland to drink and it doesn't end when you reach your twenties, thirties, forties or beyond. We do have a problem with drink in this country but unlike what the programme was saying, I don't think that it's the availability and price of alcohol that makes people drink more, it's our attitude that needs to change. Making alcohol more expensive and less available won't change things, let's be honest the money will go to bail out the banks and bond holders, it certainly won't go into education and health.

I lived in Italy for three years and alcohol is cheaper and more available and yet you don't see people falling down drunk, getting sick and getting into fights. Why is that? Well, their attitude for one, it's not cool to drink or behave like that, whereas in Ireland, it is. You're no 'craic' (Irish word for fun) if you don't drink here you see. What we need to do is change our mindset around alcohol, even if we don't consider ourselves to be alcoholics our general attitudes aren't healthy around alcohol.

But let's ask why do people really drink? I think it's to feel good (or to at least not feel any pain by numbing), to not feel embarrassed, shy, awkward, anxious, depressed ... So that's the goal: to feel good. What we need to do is find healthier ways to feel good. There's nothing wrong with a few glasses of wine but when it becomes a crutch, when you can't feel good without drinking alcohol, then it becomes a problem. I know people can become physically addicted but it's the psychological addiction that's the real driver, and that's what really needs understanding, compassion and healing.

Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the centre of all addictive behaviours. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there. As we’ll see, the effects of early stress or adverse experiences directly shape both the psychology and the
neurobiology of addiction in the brain ~ Gabor Maté

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