15
Sep
09

Letter to editor: 6 months on

A letter in today’s Centralian Advocate:

It has been about 6 months since I quit alcohol. As a young adult my main reason was to send the right message to others in my generation.

I can confidently say that my challenge has been well worth it.  I never drank regularly, a weekend wind-down was always on the cards, but as more than 4 standard drinks on any single occasion is considered a health risk I was in the camp of many in the odd occasion of over-consumption.  Quitting alcohol meant that I could talk about it more and its place in our community.

If alcohol is consumed responsibly then this can be a good thing, it can be a good way to wind down and socialise.

Alcohol becomes a problem when relationships are harmed; when the amount of money spent dips too much into disposable income; when violence or abuse no matter how benign is dished out; when it is seen as an out to whatever personal or social problems persist. For some people the response to any of these experiences is to have another drink.

The problem self-generates.  For some, alcohol is a pitiless addiction.  For too many in my generation and younger alcohol and its misuse is a social contagion.  We egg each other on and poke fun at the hapless incidents. 

Abstaining from alcohol is not a solution for everybody.  I set myself this challenge to see what it was like.  Because alcohol was a weekly ritual it was difficult at first. My mind relied on its calming effects after a long week and mentally I had to adjust. Because I am a busy person it was easier for me to quash boredom without it (having boredom and no purpose is a big issue for many in Alice Springs).

Exercise helped me, as did a healthy addiction to coffee.  What I realised from quitting is that there is so much to life and its abundance that other interests can easily replace alcohol, so long as a kind of semi-dependency caused by years of use is overcome.  Without the after-effects my mind and body is better without it.

To others in my generation I hope these messages resonate.

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