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Back in August 2012, I wrote about how I was 19 weeks without an alcoholic beverage and my thoughts about alcohol in society.

My last alcoholic beverage was consumed at a venue called ivy Pool Club Bar, I don’t even remember what the drink was – I think it was a vodka and something. It was probably 11, 11:15pm on Friday April 13, 2012. I’d been up since 3am Perth time to get on a 5:45am flight from Perth to Sydney ahead of a game of football between Perth Glory and the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday 14 April. It was a preliminary final and the winner of that match was going to play against Brisbane Roar the following week in Brisbane.

I arrived in Sydney at about 1pm, checked into my hotel, went to a meeting, scoffed down some food, caught up with someone, ran around the Sydney CBD dropping things off for my employer before catching up with people for drinks that went late into the night. I was the first to leave.

I’ve talked about my experiences that day in a previous post, so you can go back and have a look at that.

Anyway, I haven’t drunk alcohol since then, and it’s been nearly 13 months since my last drink.

Most people are impressed that I have lasted that long without a drink. While I always enjoy a compliment, it is somewhat sad that Australian society finds such a thing so challenging. We are surrounded by month-long anti-binge charity campaigns, but it seems that people who partake in these events have a huge night out beforehand and a huge night out immediately afterwards. There is no consideration for the long term.

Now, some would say that I am being a wowser, and I’m just encouraging the nanny state to ban alcohol and all that sort of thing – nothing can be further from the truth. I come from a family and friendship groups where alcohol is standard parts of every day life. Wine is served at dinner, beers are consumed at every social gathering – this is how society is.

The fact is that Australians are malleable, and they can be brought around. A cultural shift, like Australia saw with cigarettes, may come, but to an extent is already happening. Reports come out every year about how the amount of alcohol each Australian is drinking is dropping, but the general discussion surrounding this is that the quality of what is being consumed is increasing.

This means that my friends and colleagues are used to me not drinking alcohol. Some will continue to try it on every now and then, but by and large this is not a big issue for me anymore. I have been able to move on with my life. I do find that I tend to leave social gatherings earlier than I would have done in the past and I can get bored at them faster than previously. I do find that I am a bit more picky with the events that I go to though.

What society needs to realise that the non-drinkers are not to be marginalised. I was at a large function held in an outdoor area where they were providing free alcoholic beverages – but the only non-alcoholic beverage was tap water. While this seems like a nothing complaint, it is important that as a group, they are accounted for.

I note with great interest the introduction of the Australian National Preventative Health Association, and their National Binge Drinking Strategy. While their advertising has picked up in recent weeks, they have not been able to penetrate AFL, NRL or Super Rugby. The sports involved are:

  • Football Federation Australia
  • Basketball Australia
  • Netball Australia
  • Swimming Australia
  • Surfing Australia
  • Cycling Australia
  • Hockey Australia
  • Athletics Australia
  • Skateboarding Australia
  • Volleyball Australia
  • Equestrian Australia
  • Triathlon Australia
  • Australian Canoeing
  • Australian University Sport
  • Australian Baseball League

I also have considerable concern for the effectiveness of their Community Level Initiative Grant Recipients. Many of the third round recipients are listed as having fairly broad goals for their projects – albeit lofty and achievable  goals, but nothing that indicates how those goals will be achieved. As a taxpayer, I would appreciate more information, but if this is commercial-in-confidence or similar, that is understandable.

In general, when dealing with alcohol, I would hark back to the messages of old, and to an extent, the messages that I should have listened to when I was a young man.


I’d appreciate your thoughts and feedback, get back to me.