Along with the tooting of car horns, spring is marked by celebratory war cries as beer-loaded fans sing out the season. There are footy finals, spring racing and the Rugby World Cup on our screens. From here into October our alcohol consumption cranks up a notch.
November marks Melbourne Cup and schoolies. By December the booze-metre is in the red zone as people fasten their belts for the Christmas party season and New Year’s.
We’ve embarked on a three-month slosh-fest that is ingrained in the Aussie psyche. Celebration is defined by a culture of drinking.
Loss is defined by a culture of drinking, too. Tony Abbott’s removal from office was marked by an all-night party that ended with at least one Minister allegedly “spewing” in the halls of Parliament, according to senior liberal MPs. A marble coffee table was broken after it was used for dancing.
Last year 11,789 young people ended up in emergency departments after excess alcohol consumption. That’s about 230 a week. It’s an improvement on previous years but it’s still a clear and present danger to our youth.
Along with thousands of other Australians I’ll be giving up alcohol for the month of October — not because I believe abstinence is the solution, but because I think it’s important to stop and think. I believe we need to send a message that alcohol doesn’t need to be our “go-to” in times of celebration or stress, or loss.
Ocsober is the awareness month for Life Education which brings programs (and Healthy Harold) to school classrooms right across NSW. We believe in educating children to make healthy choices — for their bodies and their minds.
How do we expect to tackle those figures if we don’t set an example ourselves?
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