IRISH ALCOHOLISM V THE COST OF BOOZE

As anyone who has any knowledge of addiction could have predicted, FFGs mimimum unit cost price fixing of alcohol has had no impact on Ireland’s mass alcohol problem. It has only raised the profits of alcohol dealers.

Alcoholics don’t care how much alcohol costs. After all, they are already paying for the bliss and oblivion alcohol provides with their life, right? Alcoholism is slow suicide, the death-wish armed with Earth’s deadliest poison.

Perhaps alcoholism is better thought of as a long-term bargaining with suicidal urges – the alcoholic promises herself she will stay alive so long as she can stay pissed.

Secretly tho, every alcoholic wants to wake up dead and be done with it. Every alcoholic is an emissary for Thanatos.

I once heard of an alcoholic mother, who worked in a family pub and lived above it. Every night family members removed all the alcohol from the pub – barrels, bottles, splits, the whole lot – and triple-locked it into an adjoining storeroom. One night they all awoke to cries and screams from downstairs. Mother had got stuck rigid in the air conditioning flute connecting pub and store-room. An addict is always plotting!

Alcoholism is fundamentally a deep, near-impossible to eradicate rejection of the conditions of human life as the individual alcoholic has encountered them. For reasons usually to do with childhood trauma, the alcoholic rejects reality and will do anything to evade it. Will do anything to get the oblivion potion.

Mass alcoholism, as has existed in Ireland since at least the genocide of 1841-47, tells us that something is deeply wrong with society as a whole. Like the canaries who are the first to die off in a gas leak, addicts reveal to us that our environment is increasingly toxic and so something horrible for all of us is quickly on the way.

If we can’t cure society of mass addiction, we have no hope whatsoever against the climate catastrophe, whose cascading effects will likely drive many many more of us to drink. Faced with the apocalyptic challenges of the near future, most will probably choose not to face them, and alcohol serves perfectly.

And really there is no cure for alcoholism at an individual level, only potentially maintenance of abstention, usually only accomplished after years of trying and failing, and requiring lifelong vigilance and peer support. Most alcoholics – some say 98% – continously relapse and die drunk. Nothing but AA or, much more likely, death will stop an alcoholic getting alcohol.

Is there anything that can be done?

Well, yes. We could change the conditions of human existence so that it was no longer the case that such a lot of people do not want to live.

We could make a world where mass childhood trauma simply did not exist – as it did not exist for hundreds of thousands of years among pre-industrial and pre-agricultural humanity.

Agriculture, including alcohol production leads to urban settlement and exploitation of our fellow humans. This produces sadistic hierarchies violently dominating and cunningly exploiting the majority. The result is a trauma society in which mass addiction is inevitable.

We must reverse the clock somehow and permanently unsettle ourselves, permanently dissolve our settled and sadistic ways.

Until then, raising prices will do nothing only raise profits and for every alcoholic who manages to maintain sobriety, another thousand or ten thousand alcoholics will be born into this world of shit that is destroying us all.