Get Smart about Wilde Drinking

In today’s society we constantly witness the disgusting prominence of overt excess and strange publically lauded self-indulgences. But when our lives and our personality are (wrongly) rated upon how well we promote ourselves, particularly within commerce and the arts, I suppose that’s hardly surprising…

You can’t blame all the selfie-stick waving duck pouting wannabe celebrities for their profound levels of excess after all; that’s fashionable, it’s what our society has come to demand now, isn’t it? But what ever happened to moderation? Why are we no longer content with a middle of the road status in our society?

“Life is too important to be taken seriously.” – Oscar Wilde

oscar-wildeOscar Wilde, that well-known flamboyant Irish aesthetic playwright and novelist, a man of often decadent excess, once said; “Everything in moderation, including moderation” but what does the word moderation actually mean?

In its most literal form moderation is; the process of eliminating or lessening extremes. It is a method of ensuring normality throughout the medium on which it is being conducted. In Ancient Greece, moderation was also a principle of life itself i.e. do naught to excess!

“It is better to rise from life as from a banquet – neither thirsty nor drunken” – Aristotle

In short, we all have the ability to make a choice about how much we want to drink. Unless that is, you’re unfortunate enough to have already descended into the realms of medically defined alcohol dependency.

As many of today’s views around standards of behaviour, or the ethics we hold for living a good life stem from our past (or indeed current) religious beliefs, those factors are worthy of brief examination.

The Christian views on alcohol usually promote moderation as the predominant ethical preference of choice when it comes to booze i.e. consumption of alcoholic drinks temperately is permissible but drunkenness is (rightly) usually forbidden. Today’s Christian views on alcohol are divided into moderation, absenteeism and prohibition, mostly dependent upon the devotion of followers and how staunch the particular religion.

Many religions actually forbid the consumption of alcohol or at the very least, see it as sinful or negative…as with Islam. Others have allocated a specific place for alcohol in their doctrine, ceremonial and their beliefs, such as the Christian practice of using wine for Communion. But in today’s increasingly secular society, is our reliance upon religious doctrine the appropriate source of de facto advice on the rights and wrongs of alcohol consumption? I would say not, in fact there is no right or wrong…in moderation! Like many other aspects of our life, how much you choose to drink is down to your own personal choices.

When making a personal choice on where alcohol sits in your life, many people would do well to remember Newton’s Third Law of Motion as a pertinent analogy i.e. for every action (our choices), there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Our power of personal choice is informed and wholly reliant upon sound sources of information which we can learn from and in turn, which can provide us with the capability of making informed and cognitive decisions. Sadly ‘personal choice’ is often made either recklessly or without any due consideration for the negative impacts which excessive alcohol consumption actually deliver. On ourselves or indeed those around us!

“Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” – Oscar Wilde

There are actually many sources of ‘advice’ and guidance available for us today on the topic of alcohol. It’s provided by health governing bodies and the NHS, there is government advice and that provided by the likes of etc.

There are also numerous charitable organisations offering help and support to individuals who are suffering from excessive alcohol consumption. For example, North Yorkshire Horizons, who provide appropriate services locally, are complemented by charitable organisations like SMART Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous nationally in the UK. Some of those charities are more secular than others, some promote and/or demand abstinence but some don’t. Once again and a possible quandary to some no doubt, there are personal choices to be made… horses for courses as the saying goes!

“Experience is simply the name we give to our mistakes.” – Oscar Wilde

In the last dismal days of Wilde’s life he was living in self-imposed exile in Paris. Suffering a poor existence of abject poverty, he wandered the boulevards alone spending what little money he had left on alcohol…until his death.

The smart idea would be not to replicate Wilde’s demise and to make some informed smart choices about your life and your alcohol consumption; especially if that drinking is becoming problematic, or more of an addiction rather than a pleasure!

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