Ke December Boss...mara, please, don't drink your life away

2012-12-18 10:14

It’s that season to be jolly, Falala lalala lalalala...Oh, and don’t fail to remember my double shot of whisky, on the rocks please.

It is mos def the season of excitement and thrill as we get ready to pop our bottles of expensive bubbly.  Well, maybe the costly drinks will be for the “trust fund” white heavy-flyers, township zikothanes, and not forgetting thee self-confessed BEEs. In this holiday season the phrase Ke December Boss is now thee popular mantra. In certain circles it simply means let’s get sloshed and waste the holiday binging and overindulging in the overconsumption of alcoholic beverages. So, the middle class proudly take out their cooler boxes, fill them up with some Peroni and head off to the public park for a “chilling” session. The kasi/township kids continue to roll-up “nyaope”, “whoonga”, “capsule” or whatever you wanna call the cocktail killer drug that has our future blazing in our midst.

Don’t forget the Facebook picture posts seen, during this season, of youngsters posing with bottles of “expensive cognac”, green bottles of beer and low-priced champagne. What’s up with our habit of advertising our alcoholism anyway?

Forget the trending political trauma, with symptoms revealed at Mangaung, we have an additional hangover in our hands - the crisis of drinking too much.  Well, it’s possible that you want to deny that as a country we have a drinking and drug problem since you wanna justify letting loose at your end year function and drinking religiously to validate  your sense of having “a ball” on New Year’s Eve.  However, let me burst your bubble, our drinking problem is a big one. It’s killing us.

Well, we might not be the country that consumes the most alcohol in the world but the clever people at the World Health Organization have suggested we are one of the leaders “in alcohol and social-abuse ratios”. This is simply the fact that drinkers in our “precious South Africa” have high ratios of harmful episodic drinking. We just love binging.

Well, how do I convince you  that we need to be watchful of our intake of the booze this Christmas season? The problem is you might find the statistics boring.  But, I will give you a heads up anyway, before we drink our lives away.

A recent report says that alcohol is a common substance in various hospital sites to cause the biggest harm in secondary risks.  The term “secondary risk” is a fancy medical term for “injury, premature non-natural deaths and fetal alcohol syndrome”.  Let’s also not forget to remind ourselves that liquor is a potential catalyst for sexual risk behavior and this may lead to HIV transmission.

In simple terms alcohol leads to risky behavior.

It takes no rocket scientist to know that drunkenness leads to trouble. This means that on your journey home after that New Year’s Eve party you might encounter the “guys and girls in uniform” carrying their breathalyzer and end up behind bars for a day or two. It’s possible that after a night out clubbing and drinking you might take that stranger home with you and overlook safe sex because of the spur of the moment excuse. Well, it’s also possible that you may also get ahead of yourself in the entertaining atmosphere at the dinner party and end up driving yourself home pap-dronk and an accident may await you just around the corner.

To be honest, I am not trying to freak you out or pretend that I don’t drink myself. This blog is a caution to myself, to my friends, family members and yes, even you. I am simply saying lets be careful.

Our relationship as a country with alcohol has created enough trouble over the years and we can’t continue to ignore this. The facts simply say we have a bad history with alcohol. The Medical Research Council of South Africa conducted a research a few years back in Attridgeville that shows that people between the ages 25-44 found a connection between alcohol use and having multiple sex partners. However drinking also affects young people, as in 1997 it was found that Grade 8 – Grade 11 learners in Cape Town were absent from school and some had to repeat their grade because of consuming alcohol. These facts are tame compared to so much analysis done on this matter. Research after research has been conducted to show that alcohol is related to crime, violent behavior, family violence, and accidents on our roads. You probably have heard these outcomes before countless times and honestly instinctively you know the results of irresponsible drinking.

I briefly mentioned this is not a sermon of a non-drinker but an alert that I hope I can also live up to. Forget Mangaung, South Africa, let us be responsible this December and moving into 2013 on how and why we consume alcohol.

On this blog, I am simply pleading; be responsible to drive someone home if you see they can’t do it themselves (and make sure you also have a driver’s license).  It would be great if you and I could also monitor how much we are drinking while we in “celebration” mode. For the drivers who do not drink, please be extra vigilant on the roads.

And oh, maybe don’t post a picture of yourself on social media showing off with a beer bottle, only because your teenage sister or brother could be watching.

It simply boils to the fact that sometimes it’s the simple action that can change our future.

(Ps. Follow @jazz2ben on twitter. What do you think government, private sector and communities can do to change the tide of OUR alcohol abuse problem?)

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