Think of Australia and you might envision a laidback, barbecue and booze-loving nation.
But the truth is, while our lazy afternoons and leisurely barbies aren’t going anywhere, Australians are drinking less now than any time in the last 50 years.
According to the Spectator Index, in the last nine years, Australia’s alcohol consumption has dropped by just under 14.5 per cent.
In 2017, DrinkWise reported that 20 per cent of Australians were abstaining from alcohol completely, up from 11 per cent in 2007. Even of those who are drinkers, 63 per cent will consume no more than two standard drinks.
The choice not to drink is becoming something of a movement and brands are hopping on board, keen to provide exciting options of what to drink when you’re not drinking.
You might’ve heard of, or even tried Seedlip, which is the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirits range.
It comes in three expressions: Grove 42 (citrus), Spice 94 (aromatic) and Garden 108 (aromatic), and is best served over ice, topped with tonic and a garnish. For non-drinkers or anyone trying to be more mindful about their drinking habits, it’s a game changer.
There are many reasons why there’s a market for drinks like this, whether it be choosing wellness, wanting to drive, being more productive in work or life in general, or perhaps a cultural background or a decision you’ve made based on family history.
Mamamia spoke to seven women who are non-drinkers to find out their reasons for swearing off booze, and how they cope with people’s reactions to their decision not to drink.
“I made the decision to stop drinking two years ago and I haven’t looked back. I used to be a frequent drinker: a couple of wines at home at night to wind down throughout the week, then multiple drinks at the weekend while socialising with friends. I realised it was affecting the quality of my sleep throughout the week and on the weekends I’d be hungover and suffering with the ‘hangxiety’ that comes with that.
“When I turned 30, I decided I was tired of feeling sub-par most of the time and the fun times that came with drinking were no longer worth the suffering. Initially I planned to have a month off, but the benefits of stopping were so worthwhile I just never went back to it. My sleep, my skin and my mental clarity all improved – and I saved money. Now, I do yoga to relax in the week and when I am socialising at the weekends, I focus on having good chats with people and being present in the moment, instead of necking cocktails.”
“I’ll usually never drink unless it’s a big occasion, like a birthday or a Christmas party. I don’t drink mainly because of the Asian flush (or the Asian glow) and the way it makes me feel. My whole body goes bright red, and my eyes go all glassy. It makes me self conscious, physically uncomfortable, and I hate the comments and questions that come along with it – stuff like ‘why does this happen to you!?’ and ‘are you sunburnt?’ and ‘do you realise you’re all red?’ I also get really hot and sleepy, so it’s just not a good time. If I want to feel any pleasant effects of alcohol I need to drink a small amount over a really long amount of time (I’m talking maybe one drink every 1.5 hours). For me it’s just not worth the fuss.”