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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Who wants to live in a society scared of pleasure? ]

Who wants to live in a society scared of pleasure?

Author: 
Lauren O’Hara

FIFTEEN years ago when my husband got a job in India, I asked someone what I’d need to take. “A good liver” was the answer. He was right. I’d never drunk so much in my life. Parties in Delhi started at six in well-watered gardens. In the dusty heat with green parakeets squawking and flocking, and fruit bats circling, keeping up the fluid intake as the sun downed meant grabbing a glass from the nearest tray of ever-circulating waiters bearing beer, gin and tonic, Coca Cola and water. Warned off water with unknown provenance, worried about the sugar content of Coke, the choice became easy. I drank the local Kingfisher until I was too bloated with gas to guzzle anymore and then switched to gin. A habit I have kept to this day.

 In 2008 the British government published a report outlining nine types of ‘heavy’ drinkers: the depressed, the re-bonding: the conformist; the community; the boredom; the macho; the hedonistic; the dependent and the 'de-stress'. Fatuous definitions probably: but with some elements of truth. I’m not a binge drinker; in fact, I get anxiously scared around people whose emotions run riot as they get brasher and boisterous from over indulgence. I don’t drink when I’m depressed or bored; I was definitely the last and still am. ‘Alcohol used to relax, unwind when switching between work and personal life.’ a treat at the end of a hard day.

That’s it. That’s me.  The first drink of the day:  ritually after six o’clock, a time to stop work, sit in the garden, share conversation or stare bucolically into space listening to the birds. I’m happy not to have another drink all evening, but, of course often do, but it’s that first drink, usually a Bombay Sapphire with lime and slim line tonic, that makes me sigh with contentment. 

A report published today tells us that the fight is being won in the UK against cancer and heart disease but that liver deaths are up 25 per cent, especially in my middle-aged age group: fatty liver. Oh dear. The doggerel of McGonagall, much beloved by my grandfather who would ironically quote it, as he raised a glass, still makes me laugh:

Oh, thou demon Drink, thou fell destroyer;

Thou curse of society, and its greatest annoyer 

Of course, I worry, as we all do, as I walk city streets at night and see the fights and falling over, and know worry drives despairing men to down pills with whiskey, and hear how binge drink makes brutes of us all. But what I don’t want to see is a society scared of pleasure. A return to the miserable, tee totalling, Puritanism that tutted and frowned at fun. Rather let’s resurrect Aristotle who encouraged us to seek that ‘golden mean’. The path between extremes: ‘moderation in all things’, with the wisdom to know when enough is enough; and that abstinence can be as addictive as excess.



(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.



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