Writing a post about alcohol might seem ever so slightly outside of the ‘Eating Disorders and Mental Health’ bracket of my blog – but the reality is MANY of us use alcohol to cope with stress, and self-medicating with alcohol is pretty common place for a number of people with mental health illness – so I’m going to post this anyway.
It seems to have become an almost monthly occurrence that emails titled ‘free glass of wine with your meal’ land in my inbox. This then becomes ‘free bottle of bubbly’ or ‘free cocktail’ around the time of my Birthday. Since I’m on the mailing lists of a number of restaurants I don’t just get one of these, but at least half a dozen. So I could pretty much eat out for an entire week, and be given an entire bottle of the fizzy stuff for free every day!
To add to this, today I received an email from a leading chain titled ‘Happy Half Birthday’ – again offering me this seemingly important ‘free bottle of bubbly’.
I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but I find it angering. As a Counsellor (and just as a friend and family member) I have seen alcohol destroy lives, destroy entire families. And yet this type of advertising seems to be considered acceptable. If we each opened our inbox’s to find a ‘free packet of cigarettes’ it wouldn’t be long before there was outrage. Yet alcohol is the second biggest preventable killer and responsible for 137 hospital admissions every hour; that’s 3288 people a day, more than double cigarette related admissions.
I don’t want to put a dampener on the party. Enjoy your Birthday (and even your half Birthday)… but to me, this just seems hugely irresponsible advertising.
Would love to hear your thoughts?