Sunday, 10 November 2013

Binge Drinking & the Australian drinking culture

I don't drink alcohol at all.

In fact, if you know me quite well you would know that I'm very against the excessive consumption of it.

In Australia, we grow up around social drinking. More often than not the social consumption of alcohol leads to excessive binge drinking.

This happens in every country, right around the world but here we do two very different things to other countries in reaction to this ongoing trend. Both of which if you are Australian, you will recognise quite easily when reading today's blog post.

Firstly whether it's in the media, with friends or family a hangover or an incident relating to an individuals intoxication from the night before is often joked about. Essentially it has become somewhat 'hilarious' and even more alarmingly acceptable to be ill following alcohol consumption. And whilst we as adults more often than not laugh at the other adults with a sore head or a not so pleasant stomach, our younger generations watch and accept this behaviour as the social norm.

Do we ever think about what morals we are instilling unknowingly by having children at social occasions or even the next morning watching their parents and friends joke about incidents and their illness from intoxication?

Alcohol is a drug. It inhibits your ability to act in a way in which you can make sensible decisions. So we are therefore saying that by ingesting this drug to the point that your body physically repels it is not only socially acceptable, it is encouraged and makes you a form of entertainment.

Secondly and perhaps most frustratingly we exclude or question those that chose not to drink. I can't tell you how many times I have been to a party and heard the statements 'Why are you not drinking? Are you pregnant? That's boring, you're boring! No Fun! Driving right? Do you ever have fun?'

Yes, I do have fun! I just don't have any inhibitions to lose. Furthermore, the suggestion that alcohol needs to be consumed for any one to become 'fun' is in fact an alarming indication that you yourself are unable to be comfortable in a social situation without you and those around you drinking excessive amounts.

I sit very much in the minority as a non-drinker in Australia and in my family. I've seen friends and family do ridiculous things, get injured and say things that ultimately alter or damage relationships because of the amount of alcohol consumed in a social situation. Every time I am witness to it, I question why each generation continues the cycle of binge drinking and ultimately encourages it.

I implore you to change your attitude towards the consumption of alcohol. If someone makes the choice not to drink, don't ask why but rather pat them on the back for making a healthy and individual decision to have fun without following the crowd.

Finally, I ask you this... If it were considered socially unacceptable to drink would you do it? Question just how much you follow the crowd in social situations and be strong enough to make a decision that will benefit not only you, but generations to come.

If you found yourself disagreeing with, rolling your eyes at or feeling uncomfortable reading this article then read again, because all of what is said above applies directly to you.