As I sit here counting down the days to wine o’clock I have a feeling of urgency wash over me. A feeling on anxiousness. In a couple of days I will be abstaining from booze for one month and I feel like I need to drink ALL OF THE WINE before Feb 1.
I have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol – I’ve developed habits directly tied to stress and use booze to unwind. If the kids are being particularly unruly or if I’m on a deadline or something crappy’s happened, my thoughts turn to wine. Crisp, white wine. I catch myself watching the clock. I count down the hours until 5pm which for some reason I’ve deemed socially acceptable for me to start drinking.
Recently, I’ve had to ban myself from drinking during the week altogether. I’ve felt like my alcohol consumption was getting out of hand. It’s not good for my kids to see me drinking with such regularity.
The attitude towards alcohol consumption in Australian society is swiftly changing, driven by much publicised violence on our streets and an increasing awareness of the abhorrent violence taking place behind closed doors. I can see alcohol going down the same path as cigarettes. I can feel a distinct switch in sentiment towards our national drug of choice, but it will take a long time to see definite change as there’s much money and political sway in the hotel and gaming industry.
I felt it a decade ago when I stopped smoking. The education campaigns worked on me. The sense of stigma and personal awareness of its harmful effects started to eat away at my psyche. I used to smoke a packet of ciggies every day. I stopped cold turkey. I haven’t reached that point with alcohol, but as my body grows older it’s also started to react unfavourably to its consumption. If I have a “big night” out with my mates I will vomit the next day – every time. It’s my body’s way of saying – STOP IT.
The other morning I had to lock the bathroom door and vomit (just like the ad), after spending a particularly fun night out with girlfriends. I’d drunk way too much. I may have even graffitied on an already heavily graffitied pub toilet door. I’d scribbled with black pen: “No toilet again”. Before quickly correcting my glaring error: “No toilet paper again”, I wrote. Believe me when I say I’ve been going to this pub for 20 years and they’ve never refurbished the toilet nor have they ever replenished the toilet roll. I’d had enough (to drink obviously). I thought I was hilarious. My body did not, when the next day it tried to escape itself through my mouth. Who even am I and why can’t I even graffiti cool stuff, like: “Stop with the toilet paper shaming” or something like that?
So, when the FebFast crew contacted me asking me to write about giving up something over February to help raise money for teen addiction I said yes straight away. Particularly when they pointed out that:
Aussies are drinking 10 litres of pure alcohol a year – that’s approximately 25 bottles of vodka a year per person.
So naturally, I chose to stop drinking for 28 days. Others have decided to give up sugar or Twitter or coffee. Not drinking for a month will also help me achieve my Wobbly goals. And then after the month is up, I will look to modifying my crutch-like dependency on alcohol. It’s time.
Over six years, FebFast has raised over $5.6 million for solutions to youth addiction and inspired nearly 1,000,000 alcohol-free days. Funds raised from FebFast will support a number of organisations, including Youth Support + Advocacy Service and Family Drug Support, helping young people regain control in their lives. For more information and to register to take part visit FebFast.org.au.
So, come Feb 1 I will be looking to find some fabulously decadent, yummy, healthy, alcohol-free alternatives.
Have you got any drink suggestions?