The debate has been raging for the last 24 hours about children as young as eleven being admitted to A&E with alcohol poisoning. It totally freaked out the woman presenting GMTV this morning. To get a balanced view of young drinkers they brought on a girl who used to have a drinking problem. She was about 19 and had two cheek piercings, black stubby fingernails and wore a top with a skull on it whilst talking about how she got into drinking and how she got out of it. I think she was all they could find at short notice. Hardly your ideal reformed teenager.
Funnily enough I had a problem with drinking. For about two years I was completely allergic to anything with an alcohol content. Purists would tell me that it was not a bona fide allergy, but rather an intolerance. I stopped telling people it was an intolerance after dickhead number five replied “Yeh- I have an intolerance to alcohol. Ten pints and I fall over!” Very droll.
There’s no earthly reason for the onset of my allergy. Sure I was at Uni, but I was too busy studying and working to pay the bills. I had always been exposed to alcohol. My dad tells stories of rubbing my sore gums with Cypriot brandy when I was teething. My gran always offered us drinks- she used to brew great vats of Elderflower wine in a dustbin in her outhouse. Between visiting her and living with parents who spent a good portion of my childhood pissed (hey- it was the army, it was Cyprus and it was the eighties!) I had enough exposure to know what I liked, and what happened if I overindulged.
And if that wasn’t enough, brother number one vomiting all over someone else’s house at a New Year’s party after having too much Rumbalamumba certainly clarified a few things. It doesn’t seem to me that it’s very hard to educate your children about alcohol. Being exposed to it at a young age meant that I knew what I needed to know when I got to the peer-pressure years. A friend has written “the essential guide to being a girl” (shameless plug- Hop-Scotch and Hand-Bags by Lucy Mangan, buy it for all your friends!) It’s out in September. I’m sure alcohol related incidents will feature.
My drinking problem went away as quietly as it arrived a couple of years after I left uni. I don’t really drink much these days though, as I lost any tolerance I had through not drinking, and by the time I got round to going out drinking again, I was older and couldn’t be arsed. I stick to Champagne as there is less chance of a relapse. At least that’s my story. And I’m sticking to it.