Fight alcoholism with discipline

The government had to pay Nu 27mn in healthcare expenses for alcohol-related diseases last year, up by Nu 1mn in 2015.

And records reveal that alcohol is the leading cause of killers among the top ten.

We see an anomaly between policies and implementation: while we have an alcohol reduction policy, the poison is produced in the country with new brands of alcoholic beverages hitting the shelves every other season.

Local production has made alcohol cheap and highly accessible even to the poorest men. Walk into shops in town today and almost every one of them is a bar of sorts.

While we know that culture plays a huge role in the consumption of alcohol by the Bhutanese, it is not an excuse for overindulgence or excesses.

Most people are aware of the detrimental effects of alcohol and narcotics on mental, physical and emotional health. The effects of alcoholism are also often seen in broken families, divorces and wayward children.

Now people need to understand and realize what their habits are costing the nation in terms of resources including healthcare, manpower, energy and socioeconomic strength.

It is good an alcohol policy is in place but it will do no good to remain in paper. A policy that is not implemented lacks teeth because the agents of implementation namely the targeted individuals lack the motivation and determination to translate their will into action.

It is one for the day, and adding each of this up to weeks, months and years, one never realizes how insidiously alcoholism and the mantra of personal, professional and social failure takes roots in the society.

To combat alcoholism, enforcing rules alone is not enough. Individuals must realize that alcoholism is an evil. When they reach this point of self-awareness, then is the ground ready to sow the seeds for a better, more excellent way.

Self-discipline is key here. And it begins with heightened self-awareness. In this regard, not more as in volume but stronger advocacy is needed to fight this social malaise.

Let it not be said that this generation of Bhutanese lost out to alcohol. We have to ensure that we walk the talk: exercise self-restraint where needed.

In this case, moderation could be an alternative to abstinence.