The Not So Secret Diary of My Dry July (In March)

Dry July is something I’ve always wanted to do, but can never really do because my birthday is in July and birthday beers are always in order. So, I decided to set myself a personal challenge. Not because I’m an alcoholic, though living on campus can definitely fuel that. But because I wanted to have a bit of a break from drinking and prove to myself that I can have fun and socialise without drinking. The whole experience turned out to be quite interesting and these are my main findings from my little personal/social experiment!

No stranger to a nice cocktail
No stranger to a nice cocktail, but not this month

DAY 1 – What have I done?!

DAY 4 – Wednesday night = STUDENT NIGHT! Oh wow everyone is drunk. Not just drunk… ridiculously drunk. Woah! I’m still keen on a dance and a bit of socialising. We held pre’s and there were so many people in and around our house. Music blaring, King’s Cup kicking off and people dancing.

It’s quite a funny thing, to go clubbing sober. I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I have these sort of life epiphanies. Where I come to a strange realisation about all the things I want in my life and the person I want to be. It’s weird I know but between all the sweaty bodies and awkward grinding, I figure out what I need to do to be happy.

DAY 7 – Mardi Gras, everyone’s so happy and I’m high on life. Definitely don’t need anything to lift my spirits.

DAY 11 – Wednesday night, Student Night, again… everyone’s so drunk and I just want to snuggle up in bed and watch Sex and the City.

DAY 14 – How can people go out on Wednesday, Thursday AND Saturday night?!

DAY 15 – Pub Crawl. People can’t seem to figure out if I’m sane or not for not going.

DAY 18 – Uni night, again… to be honest I’m actually quite impressed that people can go out week after week like they do.

One thing I have noticed is that if people are aware that you are sober and have no intention of drinking, they treat you differently. I guess it could always be that they’re pretty drunk and therefore have no control over what they say or do. However, my assumption is that they don’t fully engage with you because they might have a fear of being judged by someone who is sober and aware. Honestly, I’m always keen to socialise and have some fun, drunk or not. It was a little upsetting to feel un-welcomed in my own house but I just had to make my own fun elsewhere.

Day 24 – The house is a bloody mess and the recycling bin is full of bottles.

Day 26- Ed Sheeran concert. Could probably do with a beer but only a few days left!

Day 28- Another pub crawl. Better hit the library up!

Day 31- I DID IT! Better celebrate with a beer.

Despite the mess and slight exclusion, doing this challenge was so beneficial for me mentally and physically. Not only am I feeling healthier but I feel focused and clear. I’ve discovered to accept myself and my decisions, even if it might confuse or not be widely accepted by others. I know a month of being sober isn’t much, but when it’s the beginning of a university session, it might as well be New Years Eve in 1999.

xxx A

Alcohol: The Forbidden Drop

In response to SBS’s Insight program ‘Beer Goggles,’ I have reflected on my friends, family and my alcohol habits.

Being a poor university student, I am very price sensitive when it comes to choosing my pre-drinks of a Wednesday night. And seemingly, so is every other uni student, with Passion Pop selling out on weekends at bottle shops. We pre-drink to save money at overpriced bars and clubs where you can pay up to $10 (even up to $15 in Sydney) for drinks you can purchase much cheaper at a bottle shop. When we go out, we dance, have fun, meet people, drink some more with many drunken/regrettable decisions being made, and it’s all part of college life. Or so we’re made to believe. Every movie/tv show featuring college life features alcohol, even our college song talks about ‘getting drunk last night, and the night before.’ It is suggested that binge drinking is consuming over 4 standard drinks and I can safely say that on a big night out, we would drink 3, if not 4 times that.

Sourced from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_J_Pe-xkT2nc/SSo6xUdhUvI/AAAAAAAAI2s/W19_c6TOAnA/s400/0,,6361644,00.jpg
Sourced from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_J_Pe-xkT2nc/SSo6xUdhUvI/AAAAAAAAI2s/W19_c6TOAnA/s400/0,,6361644,00.jpg

 

I myself binge drink probably once every 2-3 weeks, and yes, I realise there are many short and long term effects of this. Trust me, the hangover in the morning is punishment enough. In the moment I enjoy everything about drinking; the taste (except Passion Pop or Goon), the feeling (flushed cheeks, confident, suddenly a great dancer), the friends I’m with, the drinking games we play and the following days we spend talking about the hilarious events of the night. To be honest, why would I give all of that up? And I have many friends who are much heavier drinkers than I am, yet they are still studying, succeeding in personal, social, academic, sporting areas, traveling the world and are nice, genuine people who have never caused trouble.

Alcohol is a part of Australian society and culture and there is no denying that. When used properly, it can be used to celebrate, bring people together, meet new people and socialise in the community. However, there are many negative social and health problems associated with alcohol abuse; drink driving, unprotected sex, drink spiking, rape, liver (and all other organs) problems, dependency, violence… the list goes on. When suggested in INSIGHT ‘should alcohol be banned?’ there were a number of people agreeing yes it should, along with the drinking age being moved to 21, with someone suggesting 25! However, as correctly pointed out, drugs are illegal, yet people still consume and abuse them, what exempts alcohol from this rule? It does seem that the negative side effects far outweigh the positives, but as the politician on the program states ‘politicians are here to implement the possible, and outlawing alcohol does not fit into that realm.’ And raising the drinking age will not stop anything if people are consuming alcohol from the age of 13.

Instead of just shutting alcohol out of a very alcohol focused society, we should increase education and awareness of these problems, not in year 10 when students are already 16 and have tried alcohol before. But when they’re 12 and 13, before they try alcohol. According to the program, people are first trying alcohol when they are between the age of 13 and 14. Personally at school, we focused on drugs and alcohol for approximately 1 or 2 terms of school, whilst we face years of ongoing peer pressure, alcohol fuelled situations. These strategies should be more heavily funded and implemented by the government for all Australian children.

Alcohol is found everywhere in today’s society. Most of us consume it regularly or know someone who does who still has their head screwed on. Yet we all know someone who has been negatively effected by alcohol. What frustrates me is that it is mostly adults making decisions for the younger generation after they ‘made their mistakes and have learnt from them.’ Why not ask for our input? Our stories? Our experiences and take action from them? I have confessed that I ‘binge drink’ but really, is it an issue?

 

The full episode of INSIGHT can be found here.