CASE STUDY: Gareth in Carmarthenshire
“In Laugharne, I could barely show my face around the pubs, clubs and hotel bars, without someone making a remark about my relationship; my previous relationship, I mean. To say that my former partner put me through hell is an understatement. But ultimately I don’t hold her responsible; I blame it all on alcohol.”
A loss of control
Gareth – a 38-year-old mechanic in West Wales’ beautiful Carmarthenshire region – feels he became nothing short of a laughing stock in his local area after his former girlfriend, Gwen, forged a reputation for promiscuity there. After a few drinks, Gwen became extremely flirtatious; but whereas most people know where to stop, where to draw the line, Gwen simply didn’t.
“The more Gwen drank, the flirtier she became,” Gareth explains. “I tried talking to her. We all did. But every weekend it would be the same. Life somehow took on a pattern. I put up with it for far longer than I should of. But when you love somebody it’s hard to give them up, isn’t it? In the end, fate decreed that Gwen and I were not destined to share a future together anyway.”
Alcohol: the new ‘root of all evil’?
Sadly for Gareth, and for the families, friends and work colleagues of both Gareth and Gwen, Gwen’s behaviour was to be her eventual downfall. She was infected with an STD (the result of a one night stand) in the early Nineties, and later died.
Gareth is now married with children – something that he says brings new concerns, particularly when it comes to teenage girls and binge drinking:
“Stats show that young women (girls in their late teens and early twenties) drink far more now compared to previous generations,” Gareth says. “The British media and press have made much of the ladette culture that is increasingly causing concern for parents, the medical profession, and the police. The link between excessive drinking and a rise in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases is too strong to ignore.”
“My wife and I find it hard to strike a balance between warning our daughters of the dangers of excessive drinking, and being sure not to sound too hectoring, too controlling or bossy. We’re aware that being too domineering about the dangers of alcohol can lead to young people becoming secret drinkers. Being overprotective can result in disaster, both for the parents and the child. So we’re having to tread carefully whilst still having our daughters’ best interests at heart.”
CASE STUDY: Bonnie in Edinburgh
“It was explained to me at Rehab that being a sexual predator after having had too much too drink can prove fatal – for a woman, at least.”
“Before I quit drinking, I was not exactly a sexual predator (to be fair!), but I certainly lost all my inhibitions after having a few drinks. I would go out for the night, have a great time in a pub or club on Edinburgh’s Princes Street, and then go home with whichever man had taken my fancy.”
“Looking back now, I can’t believe that I played such a dangerous game, that I took such a risk every Friday and Saturday night. With there being so many weirdoes around these days, I could have ended up with my throat cut. I am ashamed at the way I behaved. I just thank my lucky stars that I sought help for my drinking before something dreadful happened to me.”
“One thing I want to point out, though, is that drink-fuelled licentious behaviour isn’t just something some women are guilty of; plenty of blokes do the same. But the media always seems to focus on promiscuous behaviour by girls. Believe me; satisfying feelings of lust after excessively drinking alcohol is something both sexes equally seek to do. Just go to any packed pub or club on a Friday or Saturday night in Edinburgh. My female friends often say they sometimes feel they need to take a security firm with them – so pushy can the male drinkers be.”