Thursday, 12 May 2011

Alcoholism and The Modern Age

The post about WSC set me thinking about alcoholism in the modern age and how it is defined and judged. I imagine that most moderns who addressed the subject (with their charts for restricted, safe alcohol consumption levels and their tobacco bans), would say that a man who had a whisky and soda with his breakfast was an alcoholic; especially, if the alcohol level was kept at a certain level all day, peaking in the later evening, and then slept off-back down to daytime level, before the kick-start given to the next cycle by the breakfast beverage.

There are, and always have been,
functioning 'alcoholics' and deadbeat 'alcoholics'.

People in the first category generally either drink like crazy when they drink or they just don't drink at all and there are quite a few of these: one is too many and too many are not enough (binge drinkers) but they keep themselves together by periods of painless abstinence. Others just have to drink all day everyday and comprise the deadbeat category and those are the ones found staggering and rolling in the streets.

However, there plainly is a sub-category of the first category and people, such as WSC, who drink steadily (but lightly) from dawn to dusk and then have a late night session which puts them out for the night. Alcoholics in this category are the only lucky alcoholics.

I do not think that I fall into any category of alcoholism but I could not bear to think of life without alcohol (and tobacco), even though I largely confine enjoyment of both until after sundown and simply could not stand the taste of either in the early morning (although, occasionally, with lunch). However, WSC's menu has reminded me of the merits of poached eggs and toast.

King Ibn Sa'ud of Saudi Arabia neither smoked nor drank but, when WSC had luncheon with him, Churchill explained that "my rule of life prescribes as an absolutely sacred rite; smoking cigars and also the drinking of alcohol" and he was allowed to proceed.

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