1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila, Floor!

Not only is alcohol a source of social enjoyment that has been used for thousands of years, but studies have demonstrated its benefit to heart health as well. Yet there seem to be so many varying opinions and perceptions about alcohol use-particularly among the older generation.

In an effort to get the pulse of the community, we took some questions to a Facebook poll. We surveyed Tamil Canadians between the ages of 18 and 35  and  asked responders how alcohol use was perceived in their homes growing up, whether its use was gendered, and how they plan on approaching alcohol use with their kids currently, or in the future.

Over 80% of responders claimed that in general alcohol use was not looked on in a positive light in their homes growing up. Additionally, almost 90% of responders explained that alcohol use and its perception were gendered in some way by adult family members. It would seem that within the Tamil community, alcohol use among men is more socially “acceptable” than among women.

Perhaps the most interesting findings of our poll reflect the general trend we found in how young Tamil Canadians will approach alcohol use with their children one day. Generally, the people surveyed demonstrated a far more liberal attitude toward alcohol use, regardless of gender.

One anonymous responder reflected, “It (alcohol use) should be an individual preference regardless of gender. And there’s nothing wrong with consuming it as long as you’re accountable for your actions provided that you’re of legal age.”

Though our survey is not a definitive poll on alcohol use in our community, it certainly reflects the fact that young Tamil Canadians are re-negotiating their sometimes conservative backgrounds, and defining their choices on their own terms.

As with anything else, though, you can have too much of a good thing. When alcohol use interferes with a person’s life, preventing them from going about their day-to-day activities, addiction and abuse may need to be addressed.

The Centre For Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) provides some great tips on how to quit or cut down. It’s definitely worth thinking about. According to CAMH, excessive drinking increases your chances of chronic health problems.

So what counts as excessive drinking? More than two drinks on any day, and a maximum of 9 drinks in a week for women and 14 for men. A drink would be considered 341 ml of beer, 142 ml of wine, or 43 ml of liquor.

So yes, you can have your alcohol and drink it too! But be smart about how you do it, and never put yourself or others at risk because you couldn’t resist having too much to drink. It’s just not worth it.

—Naomi Prabhakar

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