I'm sure everyone's aware by now of the #nomakeupselfie #cancerawareness trends on social media. I've had my rant about the attention seeking nature of this idea - if you want to post a selfie, go ahead, the internet is already full to bursting of them and one more can't hurt - just don't dress it up as raising awareness. Frankly, it's insulting to those who suffer with the disease. Make a donation, send a tweet and carry on with your day, in my opinion.
However I've been won over by arguments that the trend has actually raised a huge amount of money and okay, I grudgingly admit that it does seem to be working. Which is obviously fantastic news and part of the reason I decided to write this piece. Cancer Reseach does already have a huge amount of focus on it and I'd like to distract your attention from all of the lovely foundation free photos all over your twitter feeds and facebook walls just for five minutes.
Alcohol selfies. My phone is full of them, my twitter and Instagram feature a fair few and I'm sure yours and your friends' do as well. Selfies with wine glasses, pints, cocktails and shots. Selfies getting drunker and happier and messier as you scroll through your camera roll. Memories of laughing at the pub, of dancing, clubbing, being silly, and having fun. Amazing times with people you want to remember forever and the odd one or two nights you wish everyone could conveniently forget. (For me, it's the New Years Eve I mixed vodka with rum, threw up in my sisters bedroom bin and spent the first hours of the year hugging a toilet... thank god there aren't photos of that.)
However the majority of our drunk selfies are the opposite of this. Far from embarrassing they are awesome and funny; great reminders of all the stupid things we did and the faces we thought looked attractive after two or three (or five or six) drinks... We'll save regret for the hangovers.
So I'm suggesting we do something for good with these selfies too. You may not know this unless you know me well, as it's not something I like to go on about too much. My dad passed away in 2009 due to alcohol related chronic illness. There were other complications of course as well, but alcoholism was his official diagnosis and alcoholic liver cirrhosis his cause of death, if you want to get medical.
Drinking is fab and fun and a brilliant thing to do most of the time but like everything in life there are cases where it gets out of hand. And when it does it can be one of the hardest diseases to cure. This is partly due to the stigma of addiction not being treated as a disease and the relative decline in the level of medical care you then receive, partly because of the addictive quality of the substance that is slowly killing you, partly due to socio-economic reasons (it's more common among adults with higher levels of stress in their working lives, which TENDS to come in lower income brackets..) Anyway.
Alcohol Concern is a fantastic organisation working in the UK to help combat this problem: both with teenage drinking and alcoholism which tends to be more of an adult condition. They're a charity that deserve recognition too. Alcohol is another factor that can lead to some cancers and in general, thinking about your alcohol intake is always a good thing to be doing.
So my suggestion is, maybe if the #nomakeupselfie #cancerawareness campaign isn't your cup of tea (or intoxicant of choice..) to give your drunk selfies a chance to do more than be hilarious, hangover inducing and humiliating pixels, stored on your phone or laptop and bring them out to share with the world of the internet while raising awareness of alcoholism. If you can, no pressure, why not make a donation to Alcohol Concern, Cancer Reseach UK or any other charity you'd prefer? Studies have shown that alcohol directly contributes to 1 in 30 of all cancer deaths worldwide and causes up to 1,400 itself annually. You never know how much difference your £1 could make to someone's life xoxo