Yesterday I went into M & S (a British shop and cultural institution for those in other countries) and there was a lady giving away free Christmas samples by the door. British people LOVE freebies, and even the slightly posh middle class clientele were all shuffling over to get a face full of anything-so-long-as-it-was-free. This time the freebie item was a shot sized glass of port. I experienced a really uncomfortable feeling.
What, it isn’t enough that there is no alcohol in my home? That I don’t go to pubs? I am doomed to fizzy pop in restaurants? That I have to steer clear of the booze aisle in the supermarket? What now they are giving away the stuff for free?! Talk about rubbing your nose in it. Bastards.
The thin veneer of respectability that drinking samples in a slightly posh shop is the exact same thing as a behaviour that hallmarked my problem- hello morning drinking.
Here’s the rub, most people can drink a shot of port and carry on about their day, but many people cannot. Those people are alcoholics, and to be it didn’t seem fair or right even to be tarting alcohol around like this. Many alcoholics struggle with temptation enough as it is, so why make things harder? I expected a company like this to have more corporate responsibility and social awareness but then I guess they assume the sales would out weigh any criticism.
Can you imagine what kind of a loon I would have looked like raising this (without calling them bastards) with a manager? I would have had to explain why I considered it to be an issue, and publicly confess to being an alcoholic. I have taken that step a few times, but I feel feel a weight of judgement for saying it, especially to strangers who have no emotional connection with me, or empathy with my situation. The cold hard fear is I don’t want to be judged. However, at the same time I really don’t think giving away booze like that is fair on alcoholics who are suffering. It is another reminder that the culture we live in is so saturated with alcohol that giving away poison is socially acceptable. Imagine the fuss if it had been another drug?