I have yet to meet anyone who lies about their consumption of avocados. Wouldn’t it seem a little strange if all your friends started lying about how many avocados they eat? Why? Because avocados are not an addictive drug and thus no-one worries about controlling the amount of avocados they consume.
Alcohol by contrast is an addictive drug; it is the most damaging drug in our society. All drugs start out as fun but as the tolerance and dependence increase so the fun decreases.
With alcohol, lying about the amount of alcohol we drink is so normal in our society that we do not even really notice it. Lying usually starts when we are young when we still believe that drinking alcohol is cool, harmless fun (because of the more than 100,000 pieces of brainwashing we have been subjected to by age 18). We feel it is sexy, “grown up” − a sign of sophistication, especially if we can “hold” our drink. On any given Monday after a party it is not unusual to hear a youngster say: “That was quite a party! I had at least seven rum and cokes!” even though in reality it was only three. Why? Because we still think it’s cool. But wait fifteen years and the tendency is to minimise how much we drank. To the question, “How much did you drink last night?” “A couple of beers” is the standard reply. Even though the true figure is probably more: four six or eight beers.
No one lies about their consumption of alcohol, or anything else for that matter, unless they are a bit concerned about it. For example, a person might not class themselves as an alcohol addict but instinctively, they know that the effect of alcohol in their lives is not positive. However, they themselves do not want to believe that they might have a problem. They definitely don’t want anyone else to think that they drink too much or that they might have a problem.
We see this progression of greater tolerance and greater dependence also in the way we justify our drinking. Ask most drinkers during the first five/ten years of drinking, “Why do you drink?” You will probably hear an answer something like “It’s brilliant, it’s fun; it’s having a good time.” Ask after fifteen or twenty years of drinking and the answer is most likely to be, “it helps me relax”. It helps me disconnect.” Ask the same question after thirty years and often the answer is, “I don’t really know; it’s just something I do.”
Another sign of increasing tolerance and dependence is negotiating, that is making rules to convince yourself and/or others that you are in control:
never drink alone; never drink before twelve-midday; never drink anything stronger than beer; never drink at home; never drink in public. The reality is that we never have to make such rules for something that we feel we completely control. We only make these rules when we are trying to take back control.