A recent CAMH article speaks to our permissiveness around public drinking. Essentially, part of the reason we can get intoxicated at a pub or club is because it is socially permissible.
Experiments have shown that this permission extends to bar owners and staff, who generally feel that as long as you don’t drive, you may drink to excess. This point was highlighted in the CAMH article as actors in an experiment showed classic signs of intoxication, but continued to be served.
When we think about another alcohol-related issue, say, drinking and driving, part of the reason we don’t do it is because it is socially unacceptable. We also might not drink and drive for fear of penalties and enforcement, but a key factor is whether your friends would condemn your choice. This is especially vital when your judgment in a given moment is impaired by ‘liquid courage’ or a false sense that ‘you’re okay’.
If we were just as hard on our friends when they got wasted, or engaged in embarrassing or dangerous behaviour, maybe those choices would become un-cool, and not be seen quite as often, at home or in the bar.