There's recently been a fair bit of publicity about the alcohol problem this country has - sparked by the resignation of the leader of the Lib Dems over alcohol addiction, and a report that liver cirrhosis is on the rise. Polls show that people are drinking more to deal with stress and work, but there seems to be more to it than that - a cultural malaise that seems to afflict the British more than most. I understand that our levels of binge drinking are significantly higher than most other countries.
I've discussed with octopoid_horror
our mutual frustration with people who seem to only enjoy themselves when drunk, and spend most of their time looking forward to when they can next get wasted. Now, I've got nothing against people engaging in mind-altering substances as an occasional thing - but when your life begins to revolve around them there is a problem. Multiple members of my regular gaming group arrive, open a beer, and then work their way through them over the course of the game, noticeably affecting their gameplay as they go. I've been asked (by someone else) if I don't feel like I miss out on life by not drinking a lot. All of this was leading me towards a post of some kind, and then I read this on a friend's journal (reposted anonymously, because their identity isn't important) and it crystallised everything for me.
Eleven days without alcohol makes you realise what an incredibly fucking boring thing life is.
And this seems to be the major fucking problem. People hating their life, or at the least being bored and depressed by it, and not feeling that they can change it for the better. It's a whole society medicating its miserableness by spending as much time as possible lowering their IQ to the point where life becomes bearable. It's people unable to have fun unless they can blame the fun on alcohol. Last night e had a few people over, and they sang, and played games and had some good conversations, and it was great. And part of the reason it was great was that I knew that at least two of the people there dance and sing _while sober_. It was a huge shock to me to originally discover that so many people wouldn't dance until they'd had a couple of drinks. Singing seems to have become the province of professionals and drunks - when it used to be that _everyone_ sang.
Frankly, it disturbs me intensely, and I find it all hard to see as anything other than a sick society.