To help abusers of anything we need to first …

Posted 29 Nov 2012 by Walaa Idris

….. ask and understand why they do what they do!

I know today is Leveson’s day and all the talk is media ….

However, yesterday when I heard Jeremy Hunt explain the reasons for fixing alcohol prices was to combat the increase of alcohol related diseases and drink induced unruliness in our towns and cities, I almost fell off my ‘stationary’ bike!

Unfortunately, I think alcohol price fixing is similar to the idea of removing benefits from the chronically work shy and expecting a long-lasting outcome. Don’t get me wrong, I do not think individuals should sponge of the state and hardworking people, just as I do not think an individual being reckless and irresponsible is the states’ concern beyond making and applying the laws that protects the public.

However, what I think, both are heavy handed measures and will only offer a temporary fix for a long term problem that desperately needs a permanent solution. And for that to happen, both groups need to understand why their way is wrong and must change.

People who binge drink and totally lose it in our towns and cities, after football matches or on nights out, and those who damage their own health, have a problem. That problem is not how much alcohol costs or how readily available it is for them to buy. The problem is their relationship with drink, and their lack of comprehending the dangers and damage excessive drinking cost them, their loved ones, their communities and the state.

It is therefore the society’s responsibly to ask why? And if we genuinely want to help we need to first address the reasons, the why. We also need to be realistic, chronic habits are developed over time and to undo them also requires time.

That equally applies to those who grow up in generations of workless households of professional benefit claimants. Children mostly learn from teaching and by example, from copying those around them. If all they see is jobless family members who want for nothing because the state provides for all their needs, then that is exactly what they will grow up to do. Removing benefits without changing that mind-set is as fruitless as increasing alcohol prices then expect people to stop binge drinking. Both are short term solutions that fail to address why the two groups do what they do!

I understand it can be frustrating to watch, live around and try to manage both groups. Clearly, they are a problem and a big one at that. But putting obstacles and restrictions to fix a problem without getting to the root of it, is a plaster solution. It is temporary and will sooner or later unravel.

As far as over drinking is concerned, getting to the bottom of the problem, by relentlessly educating about the dangers and enforcing the existing laws, while might be long-winded is the better long term solution than the proposed quick fix. Plus it will not adversely punish moderate drinkers at a time ordinary folks need a break.

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