I'm giving up alcohol for Ocsober. Now this shouldn't be a big deal - especially for someone who doesn't usually drink a lot. But when you anticipate signing up to a booze-free month, you start realising how many social events are linked to alcohol; footy finals, BBQs, fundraisers, birthdays, work events and ... well, just because it's Friday afternoon.
I'm keen to break unconscious habits and to re-boot ahead of summer.
But there's another big reason I'm doing this. In fact, there are 5,500 of them. That's how many lives are lost each year due to alcohol in this country. A further 157,000 people are also hospitalised. According to FARE (Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education) the devastation doesn’t stop there; the high personal and financial toll extends well beyond the individual drinker. Each year nearly 400 people die, and 70,000 Australians are victims of alcohol-related assaults, including 24,000 victims of alcohol-related domestic violence.
Ocsober is a chance to create a circuit-breaker, to get fit for summer and also send a strong message to our children, friends and colleagues that alcohol shouldn't be a habit and it doesn't need to be tied to every celebration.
It's also an opportunity to support Life Education, which delivers a preventative health program to more than 700,000 children each year, including alcohol and drug education.
Younger people are making wiser decisions in relation to drugs and alcohol than my generation did. We need to celebrate that. But Alcohol still remains Australia's most deadly drug, so organisations like ours have an important job to support children to make safer and healthier choices. We're a not for profit, and as demand for our programs grows, we rely on fundraising to ensure every child who needs us, has that vital opportunity.
So… want to join me? You can sign up at ocsober.com.au. Do what I've done and start a team of your friends (we're the Mocktails if you want to support us) or simply make a donation on the website.
Wishing you a safe, inexpensive and energy-filled Ocsober!
CEO Life Education NSW