I cannot believe I haven’t written in 5 months! Sorry – life has been a bit of a rollercoaster, but I’m back, and ready to rant about one of my favourite subjects: alcohol! This morning, as I was making my way to work and trying to decide whether I really did need that extra mocha from Pret, I got a text about an article which was published by The Times on alcohol consumption in the UK. Obviously I had to write something about it.
The article, written by Tom Whipple, reports that a third of young people between the ages of 14-24 in the UK now don’t drink alcohol, making them the soberest generation in history (in the UK). 17% of them define themselves as teetotal, whereas 29% said they were non-drinkers. For the UK, where the socialisation of drinking is so bad, this is huge news. I would imagine that lots of middle aged brits are probably turning to each other in the pub and asking – what are they doing then?
There are probably quite a few reasons they aren’t drinking as much. Alcohol is way more expensive, they actually have things to do now (rather than creep to the park and knock back a bottle of Smirnoff) and social media means that most people are constantly on their guard about what could be posted. Or maybe they’re just now bothered. Either way, it’s no bad thing.
This article comes only a few weeks after presenter Adrian Chiles released his documentary Drinkers Like Me, where he uncovered that he was unknowingly consuming 100+ units a week. The documentary sparked conversation across the UK and made a point of showing that the majority of ‘casual drinkers’ in the UK were in denial about their alcohol consumption habits. Indeed, Chiles justified his dependency on alcohol by saying he didn’t misbehave, fall over, fight or drink during the day. A justification which is familiar to many (or so I’ve been told).
Whilst this is all great, and really promising, I’m note sure that it’s a turning point quite yet. Denial is a huge problem, and one of the reasons I don’t talk to people about their drinking habits. Having said that, I’m so used to being called ‘boring’ because I don’t drink and not receiving invitations to things ‘because everyone is going to drink, and we thought you would feel uncomfortable’, that I’m almost immune. It’s great to wake up to news that those younger than me might not have the same problem, and that they are entering into the drinking world when there are so many alcohol-free drinks available.
I hope that this will spark a wider conversation about alcohol, and hopefully the fact that younger adults in the UK are turning away from alcohol will start to spark a social change. Fingers crossed that in the future, you can walk into a bar, order a non-alcoholic drink and get no questions or looks thrown your way. We can always hope.
*image from Pexels.