OPINION: Can we talk about your drinking habit?

In disbelief, I watched the video footage of the drunk Metro police officer, which has gone viral on social media.

His behaviour – or should I say misbehaviour- attracted the attention of the country as we watched the video of the highly intoxicated man staggering around and arguing with bystanders.

Then his female colleague led him away from the crowd.

I, however, think the case of the officer is more complex than it seems at face value.

It is something we live with daily, in the workplace, in our homes and in society in general.

There are people who really cannot function without having one or two drinks.

All around us there are functioning alcoholics-people who, despite drinking large amounts of alcohol, seem to be “normal” and functioning in the roles they are required to fulfil.

I can assure you that as you read this, many people around you are intoxicated, not because they want to be but because they need to.

Maybe because of the toxic environment they work in or the conditions they live under.

I can assure you that there are people who know only one state – drunkenness.

While these people may be afraid of the unknown, they are clearly brave enough to go to work smelling like alcohol.

I believe that is not only disrespectful of themselves, but also their bosses, their colleagues and all those around them.

Then of course there are those whose intoxication can put others in harm’s way.

Imagine a taxi or truck driver being drunk on duty. But then, you ask, why would a father, the breadwinner disrespect his work like that?

That’s where the complexity of this issue stems from. And this is where we all come in, for intervention and help, and if you are not a drinker, you do not necessarily have to be too hard on these individuals. When I grew up, drunkenness was associated with teachers and secretaries, and journalists were also known as hardcore drinkers.

That has, however, changed.Now you’ll find heavy drinkers from all walks of life.

And they have all kinds of explanations for why they drink.

But I beg to differ with them. We are all faced by troubles and challenges, but we don’t all resort to trying to drink our troubles away and I believe we should refuse to destroy ourselves and our families. And importantly, the whole of society must play its part in combating alcohol abuse and other social ills such as drug abuse and domestic violence.

Let us respond positively to our challenges.

And as or that officer in the video.

I hope that he is getting help rather than simply being suspended or having his salary withheld, which will result in his family starving.

They are the innocents in this situation. My hope is that he may learn from his mistake.

He is only a human being. And more importantly, may those who still go to work drunk also learn from his mistake.