news

We all had a role to play in what happened to Jodhi Meares on Saturday night.

Meares’ blood alcohol concentration allegedly clocked in at .181 last Saturday night.

What an entitled, reckless, bloody idiot.

That’s pretty much what went through my head when I read about the drink driving accident allegedly caused by Jodhi Meares on Saturday night.

It takes sheer arrogance or perhaps, more simply, a complete and utter disregard for authority to drive when your driver’s license has already been suspended.

Yet it takes an astonishing level of stupidity to get behind the wheel of a car  (a 4WD, no less) when you are allegedly three times over the legal limit.

Meares’ blood alcohol concentration allegedly clocked in at .181 last Saturday night when she hopped into her Range Rover and decided to drive herself through the streets of Bellevue Hill at 9.30pm. As we all now know, she is accused of crashing into three parked cars and rolled her own.  It’s not surprising really.

According to DrinkWise, a Blood Alcohol Concentration of  0.08-0.12 means you are 10 times more likely to have an accident.

But let’s drill down a bit more. DO you know what 0.181 looks like?

Substance addiction website In The Know describes the physical affects of a blood alcohol concentration of 0.18-0.25:

Drinkers are disoriented, confused, dizzy, and have exaggerated emotional states. Vision is disturbed, as is perception of colour, form, motion, and dimensions.

Drinkers have increased pain threshold and lack of muscular coordination. Drinkers stagger or lose the ability to walk and have slurred speech. Apathy and lethargy are typical.

So if she did it, what the hell was Jodhi Meares thinking?

The obvious answer is, she wasn’t. And I don’t mean that flippantly.

I don’t know Jodhi Meares and I’m sure (should she read this column), I never will. But here’s what I do know.

The last thing Jodhi Meares would have wanted to do was put the lives of other people at risk.

I don’t have to know her to know that about her.

Why did she allegedly do what she did? Because she was – allegedly – drunk.

Why didn’t she call a cab? Because she was – allegedly – DRUNK.

That’s what alcohol does to you. It affects your brain’s ability to function: to think clearly and rationally and logically.

I have no doubt today Jodhi Meares is HORRIFIED at what she is accused of doing.

Because Jodhi Meares is not the devil.

What she is, is a typical Australian.

You see there’s a bigger picture here that I think we all need to look at.

We are a nation of boozehounds. We are a country in the throes of a violent abusive love affair with grog.

ADVERTISEMENT

I am not for a moment excusing Jodhi Meares’ alleged behaviour on Saturday night, nor would I dare to suggest we’ve all walked in her shoes.  I bloody haven’t. And you most likely haven’t either.

But Australia is not just a nation of drinkers.

We are also a nation of enablers.

Ask yourself:

Have you ever heckled or hounded a friend who has announced they are not drinking at a party? Have you made them feel like a killjoy? Like it’s IMPOSSIBLE for them to have fun without a drink or 10 under their belt?

Bec Sparrow.

Have you ever refilled a wine glass or insisted on buying a friend another drink  – despite their insistence on not wanting any more?

Have you ever shrugged your shoulders or turned a blind eye as a friend who’d been drinking reached for their keys to drive home?

Have you ever congratulated a friend or colleague when they’ve told you about getting hammered on the weekend? Have  you laughed as someone has told you that they drank so much last night they blacked out?

Yeah, me too.

Binge drinking (which is classed as drinking more than four standard drinks in one sitting) hasn’t just become normalised in this country. It’s CELEBRATED.

We all have a role to play in this drinking culture and we are marinating in our dysfunction.

I will let other more knowledgeable writers discuss the leniency with which our court system treats drunk drivers and those driving despite having a suspended licence.

I’ll let others delve into our nation’s deeply complex and primal relationship with alcohol.

All I want to do with this column is shift the spotlight off Meares for a moment and instead shine it on ourselves.

We all had a role to play in what allegedly happened on Saturday night.  And what happens every Saturday night on the roads and in the hospital emergency rooms across this country.

And, if you ask me, that makes us all bloody idiots.

Dry July, encourages Australians to take a break from drinking for 31 days. I’m signing up. I hope you do too.

If you are worried that yourself or a family member might have a drinking problem, you can find help at Alcoholics Anonymous. You can call the national AA hotline at  1300 22 22 22.

Do you think Australia has a drinking culture problem?

00:00 / ???