Christine is a working mum who made the decision to give up drinking (well almost) following the death of a close friend. She explains more about why and how she does life without alcohol.
Why did you rethink alcohol?
A friend of mine died of cancer some years ago and although it was never directly proven that her cancer was linked to alcohol, she suspected it had played a role. Her job as a taster for a large supermarket chain involved alcohol, meats and dairy. Somebody else in her department also died of the same type of cancer, hence the connection.
It really made me rethink alcohol and there is plenty of proof that drinking causes cancer. I just feel, what’s the point in risking my health especially when I don’t even particularly enjoy it. In recent years I have brought drinking down to literally once or twice a year.
Do you feel pressure to drink alcohol?
Yes very much so! I’ve been under pressure to drink at work events in the past, the worst comment I have had was from my previous boss. When I told her that I don’t really drink, she said,
‘I don’t trust people who don’t drink!’
I find that a very odd comment.
In the past I used to hold a glass of wine and pretend to drink it to be sociable. Now I don’t even bother to pretend, I guess with age you start to care less about what people think. Luckily I am fortunate enough to work for a very forward thinking company now and I was amongst many who didn’t drink at the Christmas party this year.
What excuses do you give?
I used to say oh I have to drive later or sorry I’m on kids duty tonight so cant drink. Now I just say, no thanks I dont really like it!
Does society need to rethink alcohol?
I think people are becoming more accepting of others decisions to either drink or not drink. I’ve only ever had pressure from the older generation so maybe there will be less peer pressure to drink in the future. My children are being brought up in a house with very limited alcohols so, to them, the idea of people drinking wine even once a week is foreign. My 14 year old said he found it strange to think that some people have wine every night.
How will drinking look in 20 years?
I am not sure it will go the same way as smoking, I think it will always be a social tool, it helps people relax in social situations and I understand that. However, given the right awareness maybe the younger generation will understand the risks and limit their intake. I know my sons school have highlighted the risk of alcohol quite fiercely.
What alternatives do you enjoy?
Chocolate.. and um..more chocolate.. oh and cake. Yes ok, not the most healthy choices in the world! I just drink orange juice if I am at a pub and get a hot chocolate with extra cream if I’ve had a hard day 🙂
For more information on Cancer and alcohol go to Cancer Research UK. It’s a very sobering read. (not sorry)