A Belgian Eye – Episode 100

Our resident Belgian Philippe Persoons takes a look at life through a Belgian Eye.

We celebrate episode 100 by having a drink , but the question is should we?

Hello and welcome on a Belgian Eye

Ok, I think we had it all: Christmas, the party in the family, the party at your parents’ home, the party at your partners’ parents’ home. Then there was New Year’s eve, with the day after New Year greetings at your parents and the New Year greetings at your partners’ parents. And then you go back to work and you’ll probably give some bottles of wine to preferred customers and you’ll probably receive as many bottles from your suppliers. Last but not least we end the month with the companies’ New Year’s Reception.

Living in Belgium can be hard!

Meanwhile there is the Federal Knowledge Centre for Public Health (KCE), sounding the alarm about alcohol in Belgium.

Oops, I beg your pardon?

Apparently as many as 10 percent of adult Belgians are battling alcohol problems. And that’s why the Centre demands urgent action, a global alcohol plan is a pressing need in Belgium. Our society should change its perception and all involved, counsellors and social workers should get a better training to help problem drinkers.

According to the World Health Organisation’s standards: 14 glasses of alcohol per week for women and 21 for men are the limit. So, if you are a woman and you drink daily 2 glasses of wine in the evening, you have a problem. Lucky for me that I’m no woman. And also lucky for everyone that we are talking about averages and not just about the last 4 weeks.

Anyhow, those who exceed this threshold are considered to have a problem by the WHO. It doesn’t necessarily label you ‘alcoholic’, but you do have a bigger chance to be confronted with physical woes, accidents or relational problems.

The main problem on this is our dual attitude towards alcohol. I mean, 2 glasses of wine looks acceptable to me, and why not three. At the reception and at the party we all drink alcohol, or ancestors learned us that tasteful poisonous stuff and we learn it to our children. But I do admit stepping aside when encountering drunkards. I don’t understand them anymore, they’re annoying, harassing and they smell.

We blame them and we leave them to their own devices.

This doesn’t help our intoxicated friend. If we just step aside, he won’t know why we do it. Moreover, he can get a feeling of loneliness, which might increase his need for alcohol and thus his problem.

Let’s hope that the message of the Federal Knowledge Centre for Public Health might reach the right ones.

I wish us all some more guts, some more assertiveness to warn those friends we see in the danger zone. I wish myself a little more courage to order a bit faster something else then alcohol. And I mention that there is no need to encourage your kids to drink alcohol.

And then perhaps, some more might have a happy new year.

For the hundredth time I say to you all

Have a nice day!