Daily Archives: 29/05/2015

It’s the real thing …… & Friday sober jukebox

So it was with sadness that I watched the last episode of Mad Men and it was as exceptional as the rest of the series.  If you haven’t watched it yet I suggest you skip this post as I don’t want this to be a spoiler for you!

I’ve love this series from beginning to end.  I came to it late but devoured it – the story lines, the characters, the sets, the cinematography.  Paul over at the Alcoholics Guide to Alcoholism wrote a great post about it here and I’ve written about it in the past too here.

The weird thing is that over it’s 8 year series span I have experience the biggest changes to my drinking from the downward spiral in 2008 to the battling to moderate between 2009 and 2012 and then finally quitting in 2013.

What’s really shocking is that when I watched the original show from which Paul has taken this clip and shared it in his post I was still actively drinking and the fact that Don was totally hammered giving that presentation at the time didn’t even register on my radar or give me a flicker of concern.  I was so in denial about my own drinking that I couldn’t see a problem with his.  Fast forward to now and I’m horrified by that clip and my failure to acknowledge both his and my own issues with alcohol abuse.

But the last episode gave me hope.  Why?  Because up until almost the very end Don is still drowning himself in booze.  Until he goes to a retreat and appears to experience a nervous breakdown spiritual awakening.  He is introduced to meditation and group therapy and in the final scene is seen meditating on a clifftop overlooking the sea and smiling as he ‘oms’.

And the show ends with the iconic 1971 ‘It’s the real thing’ coke ad shown above.  An ad for a soft drink.  Was this Matthew Weiner the shows creator telling us that booze isn’t the answer for Don or the rest of us?  Is the girl at the beginning of the ad the receptionist at the retreat where Don was staying?  Was this Don’s genius ad creation?  Did how the show finished prompt Jon Hamm to get help in real life?  Who knows but this is how I chose to interpret it because this mirrors my experience.  Replacing the numbing of emotions through drowning in booze with the peace and acceptance of where and who we are.  This is how Don looked at the end of the show and how I feel now 🙂

And so for today’s Friday sober jukebox – only one song seems to fit the bill 😉

UK alcohol industry’s “billion units pledge”: interim evaluation flawed

This was a British Medical Journal (BMJ) Analysis looking at the alcohol industries ‘billion units pledge’ and how the interim evaluation was flawed …..

UK alcohol industry’s “billion units pledge”: interim evaluation flawed

billion unit pledge flawed
billion unit pledge flawed

Flaws in the Department of Health’s interim evaluation of an alcohol industry pledge to remove one billion alcohol units from the market raise questions about the claimed success argue John Holmes and colleagues. They say that the report should be withdrawn and revised targets set.

You can read the full analysis here but these are their key messages:

Key messages

  • The responsibility deal includes a pledge from the alcohol industry to remove one billion units from the market and one of the UK’s central alcohol policies

  • The Department of Health’s interim evaluation of its success makes questionable assumptions and ignores key confounding factors

  • A robust quantitative evaluation of the effect of the pledge may not possible

  • The billion unit target should be dropped in favour of measurable alternatives

This is not a complete surprise I have to say somewhat cynically.  This pledge was set by the industry so they were going to chose a strategy that suited them and not necessarily the general public.  As long as they ‘look’ like they are doing something the govt leaves them alone …….

If  you are interested reading more about addiction and research into the subject then do visit a new organisation that has just launched a website and further resources:

Society for the Study of Addiction

Edited to add: 15/07/2015

Alcohol industry ‘pledges’ ineffective … and perhaps worse

Government-funded evaluators say ‘Responsibility Deal’ commitments made by alcohol companies were usually already done or underway, and even if fully implemented, were unlikely to significantly affect consumption or health. Other sources suggest one effect of the deal has been to forestall a more effective measure – a minimum unit price for alcohol in England | Drug and Alcohol Findings, UK

And more news: 10/11/2015

Dead on Arrival? Evaluating the Public Health Responsibility Deal for Alcohol (PDF)

The Public Health Responsibility Deal (RD) was launched in 2011 as a voluntary partnership between the government, commercial organisations, public bodies, academics and NGOs to promote public health goals. Through a set of non-binding pledges, these actors – and in particular industry – are expected to take steps to reduce health harms | IAS, UK