Since Midnight on New Years Eve I have not touched a drop of alcohol in my endeavor to sustain a Dry January (see previous blog) There have ups and down so far but I have maintained my resolve and I will finish this! However it has made me acutely aware of the subliminal and not so subliminal power of advertising.
When you are trying hard NOT to think about something it is inevitable that you do it all the more. For example, DO NOT think of a pink elephant! You just did didn’t you? Well how much harder is it when everywhere you look there are pink elephants, in restaurants, pubs, at home on your TV, whilst shopping in the supermarket! Yes those damn pink elephants are everywhere. Of course I am not talking hallucinations here, Im talking about actual alcohol but the same can be said of food (for those dieting) and cigarettes!?
Aha! NOT cigarettes! As I have never been a smoker I never fully grasped the power of all those cues around that would make made someone want to smoke but they are now largely eliminated. 1st came the non endorsement from advertising, then the ban on portraying characters smoking on TV and film and now the recent shrouding of these ‘evil’ products from view in supermarkets. I get it! Perhaps some smokers and ex smokers might comment to let me know whether this has made it easier for them to quit or not but personally I can only see it as a good thing .
So back to the Dry January and the pink elephants everywhere! We are all aware I’m sure, that as a nation we collectively drink way too much and a good night out almost always involves alcohol, you only have to see the Twitter and Facebook messages commenting on how good a night was as being relative to how paralytic someone was or how big their hangover is. It always strikes me whenever I go abroad how FEW drunken people you see out in the balmy evenings (true I don’t frequent Kavos or Benidorm, but plenty of drunken Brits do)
We have a problem with drink in this country and I can see how that has come about over the years. Perhaps it is time to treat alcohol in a similar way to cigarettes after all it damages health (to a lesser degree ) and makes people antisocial (to a greater degree) It is an escalating problem and the health savings made by all the new non smokers out there is neutralised by the increasing amount of excessive drinkers.
Whilst I am not an advocate of the nanny state, I do think that people should be able to make their decisions on their own terms in a neutral environment, not where things are pushed at you from all angles, hardly unbiased.
My Dry January has focused my sights on alcohol all the more whilst not indulging and brings me to think that we should not make it appear to be the norm to always reach for alcohol to enhance our enjoyment of life. The differences the changes have made to smoking is tangible so perhaps it time to target alcohol. In the meantime I am NOT going to think about pink elephants, damn there’s another one!