Change the message

With alcohol being so entrenched in Australian identity it’s difficult to realise that it’s providing no benefit to your life. In Australia, much like other western cultures, alcohol tends to go hand in hand with notions of celebration, commiseration and relaxation. We see everyone, from our sporting heroes to our politicians, with a drink in hand, singing the praises of alcohol like it’s a natural part of life. 

In spite of the fact that alcohol is an addictive substance with dangerous and depressive qualities, it’s not treated like other drugs, in fact it’s seldom even referred to as a drug. Don’t be fooled, alcohol is a drug, it’s just one that’s accepted by the majority of Australians as a part of everyday life. That doesn’t make it any less harmful. The danger created by the eagerness to embrace drinking as a natural part of life has never been more evident than it is now, amidst a global pandemic. 

At the height of the pandemic in Melbourne, when business’s were forced to close their doors to the public, alcohol retailers were allowed to remain open as they were considered an ‘essential’ service. How did we as a society become so accepting of a drug that it’s considered essential? I understand the reasoning, it would be dangerous for drinkers in active addiction to just be cut off but this should be setting off alarm bells to our government, screaming the need to do more to prevent our society from its’ heavy reliance on a drug to function in everyday life. Unfortunately any alarm bells that may have rung seem to have been largely ignored. I guess there’s far too much money to be made through alcohol advertising and taxes, to market it as something we should take great caution in imbibing in. This needs to change, surely no amount of money is more important than growing our society into a healthy, high functioning society over an alcohol dependent one.

Don’t get me wrong, I think premier Dan Andrews did a good job of recovering Melbourne from the hotel quarantine debacle. Hindsight has shown that the hard lockdown slowed transmission and prevented Melbourne from joining the list of places with devastating Covid statistics across the globe but his blatant glorification of celebrating the end of lockdown with top shelf alcohol is a dangerous message to send. Surely we need to be sending messages of health and strength to our vulnerable society. Dan Andrews is probably not an addictive drinker and may not be aware of the dangers of normalising the use of this dangerous drug but as a leader he should be. Let me stop there because this is not a bash Dan Andrews story, I think he has done a good job in very trying circumstances but I do think it’s a disservice to the community to lead with the glorification of alcohol as a means of celebration.

Many people have recently found and are indeed still finding themselves in weak and vulnerable circumstances, they need stories of strength and positivity, not encouragement to drink a substance that is an active depressant. While some people are able to have that single unit, top shelf drop, many are not because alcohol is addictive! Please know that no matter what message you’re receiving, you can rise above it and choose not to drink. It might be the path less travelled and it might feel daunting but you can change, you can do hard things and you absolutely deserve NOT to drink!

January 20th, 2021

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