Read the labels

A personal account of evolving on from old crowds and drinking circles after deciding to stop.

It’s the age old taboo, especially in the Indian community: Alcohol. 
It is pretty much the norm to drink alcohol these days. It plays a big part in society, regardless of which generation you are.

As the number of alcohol-related deaths in the UK rise higher each year, especially with those aged between 40–60 years, it goes to show that the root of the problem links back to many, many generations; taking it’s toll.

As it’s now become socially acceptable, it’s more easier to overlook the signs, and as a culture we’re all too quick to focus on the good yet quietly discard the bad.


As far back as I can remember…

When I was a young’un (imagine between ages of 6 –10 years old), I had many older cousins who were in their early twenties and at the peak of life. As you would imagine: Partying & Bullshit.

“Cheers old sport”

In fact they were known for it.

They had it all. All the latest clothes. Gadgets. Music. Cars. Gigs. Girls. Freedom.

They were the cool ones. They were the role models to all the other kids. Not the parents. Throughout the generations, they were the ones in the spotlight and who everyone looked up to.

We were always in awe of them. We, as in all the other younger cousins.

As I gradually grew older, and began to explore the ways of the world, I’d often get told by the elders “not to hang around them” or “not to drink with them” at parties or even overhear parents whisper that to their own kids.

I didn’t pay it no mind. In my eyes, they just young adults at the time and having fun. And that would quite often be the response they would give too
 
“let me live my life”,
“it’s only alcohol”,
“we know how to have a good time”,
“I’m just enjoying myself”,
“I’m just enjoying life”,
and so on…

Now, as an adult, most of those guys are no longer here. Theirs paths turned to darker roads and they ended up leaving behind friends and families. I won’t dwell on that story too much as it’s personal and features other people in the narrative, but gets me to my next point.

Me

Disclaimer:
By no means a preaching article, about what you should do and not do. This is more about my own account.

I’ve not drank for many years now. Not that I was a heavy drinker anyhow but I made a personal choice to stop and feel all the better for it. In fact, I think it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Physically, mentally and most of all spritually.

“Whaaat! You don’t drink…😲

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share. I can remember far too many blurry nights, along with stories that come with them.

[ Another time…]

But this isn’t about me. This isn’t even about religion. It’s about culture and habit. One part of what I do want to highlight is how hard it can be, highlighting the forces that come attached when you make that decision. Some people find making that shift very difficult.

It’s all so natural to focus on what you’re missing out on by not drinking or anything else (FOMO) instead of focusing on the gains.

I’ve seen how it separates you socially.

Just speaking on the personal side; at first things are not too different. And you spend your time trying to justify that to your social circle by still going out to the same places and habitats as before.

It’s natural, and the ultimate test of will.

So, after having way more than your average amount of soft drinks, you tend to find that you always end up being the designated driver. May as well, it makes sense right?

Up until you realise that its the only real reason why your friends actually invite you out in the first place.

Or you get seen as ‘boring’ and don’t really get invited anymore.

Or you have an unnecessary argument over the silliest thing.

Or you just get bored of being the only sober one in the circle. 
And made to feel guilty for it.

Sounds all so childish. I know. But it’s true. 
And either way, at somepoint you decide that you need to move on. Try something different. Have different priorities. Evolve.

There’s nothing wrong with that. And don’t let anyone else tell you any different.

The Signs

Most are generally reluctant to say that they drink too much or that there’s an underlying issue as heavy drinking within an Indian household is quite common; to end a hard day, hard week, one for the road, weddings, wakes, parties, functions, suns out, etc… Whenever

Pop The Champers…

A big generalisation I know. Bare with me…

What originally prompted to write this article was some subliminal finger pointing at me for being “boring” or “unsocialable”.

Albeit that’s far from the truth. You can usually find I’m the life of the party, with or without the alcohols.

Yet, I can count on both hands the amount of people I know who have past away due to alcohol related issues. So whether I chose to or not to partake in the beverage shouldn’t be an issue.

“Any fool can learn from his mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.” ~ Otto von Bismarck

I look around at those same peeps having a pop at me, for being boring, for being different, and wish them nothing but the utmost because when analysed from a far, I see signs I don’t want to be associated with.

All being from the same genre, culture and background.
Most being parents.
All heavy drinkers. 
Socially awkward. Poor memories. 
The generations above being the same.
All know how to have a “good time”.
All with the same replies.

“let me live my life”,
“it’s only alcohol”,
“we know how to have a good time”,
“I’m just enjoying myself”,
“I’m just enjoying life”,
and so on…

YOLO. Nothing is promised - if that’s your choice and way the wish you want to live your life then more power to you. Who am I to judge.

I’m all for equality and freedom. People should do as they please and what makes them happy, just as long as they are not hurting anyone. Happiness is what you make it to be.

I like to have a good time. 
I don’t want to rely on alcohol for it.

I recognise there is a pattern amongst men and women, of whatever descent/ background, linked with alcohol and choose to remove it. To break a circle of conformity. To be different. By no means am I perfect, and this may be completely naive of me to say.

My family, my faith and well being come first. And like Cypress Hill said, “I ain’t goin’ out like that.”

Cheers, to the good life.