I drank diet coke on my 18th birthday.
Unlike the majority of my peers who awaited the chance to guzzle down alcopops, I shunned the teenage rite of passage like an egregiously high pair of heels.
With Aussies knocking back 10 litres of pure alcohol each year each year, approximately 2.2 standard beverages per day per person, we possess a national drinking culture so pervasive that beers and booze are as customary as beaches and barbeques.
Me? I would be lucky to consume 2.2 alcoholic beverages in one year let alone 24 hours and it has nothing to do with God, an ailment, or a bun in the oven.
I was just never interested in drinking. Contrary to many others, I didn’t grow up in a family where social situations were fuelled by liquor. Even as an adult engaging in gatherings which involve alcohol, I’m still not up for it.
Although girls hiking their skirts up to their ovaries kind of repelled me from the drink, it’s just not my thing. The taste, the effects, nor the empty calories quite do it for me.
Though, admittedly, the romantic idea of viewing a foreign film with a glass of red always tempted me, as did the mimosa which has something wonderfully ‘ladies who lunch’ about it.
But with a mimosa equating to a small donut in calories (and not tasting anywhere as delicious), I’m more inclined to wolf down the baked good. Unless I find myself along the white sands of a Caribbean island in the height of summer. And there are no patisseries within a 40 km radius.
According to the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education:
61 per cent of Generation-Y drinkers consume alcohol with the intention of getting smashed
95 per cent of all Australian drinkers are unable to correctly identify safe levels of liquor
The Windex of legal drugs, we invent a multitude of excuses to indulge in the hard stuff. It helps us unwind at home and to loosen up on the dance floor. It’s a nightcap as well as a party starter. It can leave us depressed, bubbly, aggravated, reckless, and lustful all in the same evening.
Unfortunately, if you don’t subscribe to this cultural more and choose to give liquor a miss you are often deemed a social pariah. Decline a second round of ABC shots? You’re branded a party-pooper. God forbid you attempt to make a toast with San Pellegrino – you won’t be invited out again!