5 Ways I Ditched Booze After Spending One Too Many Mornings With My Head Down A Toilet Bowl

Girl on the left stacking beer cans, on the right a beach is pictured at sunrise

At a family barbeque last weekend, I did something unthinkable. You would’ve thought I committed treason if you saw the look on my uncle’s face. What crime did I commit, you ask? I said no to a drink, *gasp.* Australia has a reputation for being a ‘relaxed’ country, but when it comes to drinking culture, it’s a different story.

No matter where you turn at an Aussie social gathering, there’s likely an alcoholic beverage waiting to strike, whether it’s at your colleague’s farewell lunch, a wholesome family reunion or a night out with friends.

But alas, young folks are turning the table on Australian drinking culture. The ABS found that drinking rates have dropped to their lowest since the 1960s, a finding mostly driven by “reductions in youth drinking.”

The ‘sober curious’ movement has been all over my TikTok feed recently, where people go of their way to do alcohol-free social activities. It inspired me to be more intentional about my drinking and challenge myself to not just drink because I’m in a certain social setting. Here are a bunch of things that have helped me on my own journey.

Prepare for the, “Why aren’t you drinking” conversation

If you’re not drinking at a party, people are going to ask questions. And, if you’re a non-confrontational INFJ type like me, you’ll probably want to be armed with an answer.

In order to do this, you need to set an intention for your journey. Like any other goal or commitment, having a clear idea of why you’re doing something will help motivate you along the way.

If you’re worried about someone judging you for your decision, they’re probably just insecure about something in their own life. 

Remember the benefits

I don’t know about you, but I want to keep up all my hobbies when I finally become a certified Boomer (without all the yelling at service staff and whatnot). Weening off alcohol has a bunch of health benefits, that could help you stay in tip-top shape for life. 

For example, in the long term, drinking less could help reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack, liver disease and cancer. (Take that, grandchildren; you’re never getting your inheritance.)

In the short term, it can help boost your memory and energy, help you get better sleep and, improve your immunity. 

Remove yourself from temptations

It can be hard to say no when everyone around you is sipping on a fun cocktail or a refreshing beer. According to Mission Australia, almost 30% of young people feel negatively influenced by their family and peers drinking alcohol.

It might be best to remove yourself from temptation altogether and focus on activities where there’s no alcohol presence. For example, you can go to the markets or a bookstore cafe with friends or even host cute little games nights. I would highly recommend playing Spoons if you haven’t, as I broke a table last time in an attempt to win (I did.)

Going on long walks to listen to audiobooks (Fourth Wing is my current listen), music and podcasts can also be a great distraction. Getting out in nature can also help, like from hiking and biking, to get the blood pumping in the fresh air. 

Stock up on low/no alc treats

Just because you’re not drinking or not drinking as much doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a lil’ treat. Having a low or no alcohol bevvy doesn’t have to mean sipping on a Diet Coke. For example, a refreshing Son Of A Nun (I see what they did there), Low Carb Lager or Zero Alcohol Beer with your mates after work is the perfect supplement to a tradish beer.

Or, swap a pre-mixed cocktail for sipping a NoSh Boozy Seltzer Mango and Pinnaple or Citrus Crush at a picnic with your family. Just make sure to pack a couple, as the fam will snap up the low-sugar fruity drinks, (and I’m not sharing mine)…

Don’t mind if I do…

Create a support network

By surrounding yourself with friends and family who will support you, you’ll be setting yourself up for sober success. Even finding like-minded people who are also trying to cut down on drinking to ask questions and potentially form an adorable low-alc friendship with, too.

You might wanna try and find some alternative activities to do with your 365 party girl friends. That also includes Aunt Bessy, who keeps trying to sneak wine into your cup.

By signing up for Dry July to raise funds for cancer, you can more easily hold yourself accountable. Your friends, co-workers, and family members can donate to the cause and cheer you on along the way.

Cheers to us drinking less! (Non-alcoholic beverages, of course.)