Many activity-centric, social weekends employ alcohol either as an accompaniment or the sole focus of an evening. Studies show that there is widespread acceptance of the 'All-Australian Myth' that has people believe that every Australian drinks alcohol – and therefore it's the 'normal' thing to do. And we wouldn't want to miss out ... or would we?
Drink, drank, drunk... Image Source: Darwin Bell/Wikimedia Commons)
HOWEVER... The rise of health-related concerns, easily spread through the internet, has some people rethinking drinking. What are the main reasons people go sober? What are the challenges? And whether it's for one night or the rest of your life, where on earth do you start?
Fundraising/Short Challenge Realising the huge role alcohol plays in our lives, many people give up alcohol entirely but for a short length of time in order to raise money, increase public awareness, improve health, or gain greater self-awareness about their own drinking habits.
Groups such as Hello Sunday Morning invite participants to take three to twelve-month challenges of abstaining from alcohol, providing notice boards and community participation along the way. Feb Fast is a popular 28-day challenge, and there's even Half Arsed Feb Fast, which would see you go sober for 14 days. At the other end of the year is OcSober, a fundraising initiative that gets sobriety pledgers to raise money for kids' drug and alcohol education.
Health There are so many great health benefits I doubt I could fit them all in, so here's a summary! 1. Balanced emotions: Alcohol high, alcohol low, excitement, sadness, and then a hangover. Emotions are more balanced, streamlined and controlled when there's no alcohol to mess them up.
2. Short term: you won't suffer the headaches, dehydration and difficulty sleeping that a night on the grog can bring on. 3. Long term: lower risk of liver problems, heart disease, kidney and stomach problems, some cancers, as well as lower blood pressure 4. Improvement in/lower risk of mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and memory loss.
5. Improved skin tone, possible weight loss (there's a lot of calories in those drinks!) and improved energy!
Grab a pen and paper, and take five minutes to figure it out. Say you go out on a Friday and a Saturday night, paying about $8 per drink for 4 drinks each night. There's also usually a bottle of wine in the fridge at home, which is replaced once a fortnight at a cost of $32. That's eighty dollars a week, adding up to over four thousand one hundred dollars a year. Suddenly that trip to Europe doesn't look so difficult to achieve...
If you're unsure how much and how often you drink but want to figure out the financial side, try Rethinking Drinking's Alcohol Spending Calculator.
The late nights, sleeping in, and days lost to feeling unwell really start to add up. Without alcohol you've got a lot more time on your hands to get up and get some work done, watch a movie, surf the net or go for a run – all before most people have even managed to roll out of bed.
So if you've decided to give it a go, where do you start?
I found the best way to go about it is to answer the following questions, as honestly as possible, and throw yourself into it with a strong plan.
1. What are the benefits of drinking? (seriously, write all of them down!)
2. How else can I get these benefits?
3. What are the current downsides of my drinking?
4. What are the positives of quitting?
5. What are my strategies if I slip up?
6. What reward will I give myself in (a week, a month, 3 months etc) for doing this?
You're getting incredibly drunk and have a "massive hangover" from 4 drinks.
It's not that everyone else is an alcoholic, it's that you can't handle your alcohol and think that because you can't that everyone else is in the wrong and should adhere to your ridiculous standards.
Most people have maybe one or two drinks a week, at home, which cost them an insignificant amount of money over the course of a year. The vast majority of people have only one considerate drinking night every month or so. Usually at home.
Clubs cater to a much younger crowd who, thanks to idiots like yourself, demand that they not be eased into alcohol in a safe, educated way like most of Western Europe. By mid-twenties most of that hard partying at clubs has worn off and, now independent, those once-youths go out at have fun at friends houses. They'll have a few casual drinks over the course of the night and go home or stay over. This is steadily spread out and they don't end up drinking "every weekend".
The effects of alcohol are chemical. It produces combined feelings that aren't found in anything but fleeting unique scenarios. Your ignorance of the subject isn't a reason for anyone to stop drinking. A reasonable response would be to help fight the issue involved, as there are issue with all things that are luxuries or give pleasure, instead of trying desperately to ban the entire thing.