Drink Tank

Australia, adults and alcohol

To me and many of my contemporaries, alcohol and Australia go together like peas and carrots. I was raised on the back lawn of a typical Aussie home, by your typical Aussie parents.

What made my family typically Australian was the common national stereotypes we collectively embraced; the ever-present sound of cricket or footy on the radio, the penetrating aromas of yet another barbie, and the cold stubbie of beer or frosty wine glass from which my parents perpetually sipped. Consequently, alcohol has now become a typical part of my life – and I’m not sure whether that is a good or a bad thing.

I struggle to think of a single event, celebration, birthday, brouhaha or the like where alcohol was not a major consideration. And, I think many people my age can relate.

Nowadays it seems almost commonplace for young adults, of all walks of life, male and female alike, to drink to the point of drowning – regardless of the risks to our health, safety and wellbeing.

Perhaps it’s time for us to consider whether our typical Aussie behaviour has become a toxic national habit?

By the age of 27, I have most certainly battled with the double-edged sword of alcoholism. Most recently I decided to sober up over the 2012 Christmas/New Year period, after a disturbing experience. Without going into detail, I was left physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted by my ordeal – an ordeal which could have been completely avoided had I not over-indulged.

I’m not saying that alcohol is the root of all evil, or that its entirely to blame for my misadventures – I am not that naive. What I am saying though is that it has become increasingly typical behaviour for young adults to obliterate themselves, and that is a frightening notion.

Nor am I saying that we should all (myself included) become tee-totalling purists. Rather, I am saying that more attention needs to be placed on understanding our reactions and limitations.

Just last year, Adelaide University O-Week was rocked by the news of the drowning of a student attendee. After such a tragedy, all uni-goers, and young adults alike, need to be especially careful to avoid future anguish.

I am not calling for a revolution. It is your own personal reflections and resolutions which matter most, and, it would seem to me that taking a moment to monitor your alcohol intake and assess your true relationship with alcohol during this O-Week period could be a good place to start.

Belinda Quick

Belinda is a second-year Masters student from the University of Adelaide, whose thesis focuses on Australian-Soviet relations in the 1940s. Aside from her studies, Belinda enjoys the arts, particularly music and theatre (and, of course, a drink or two at a show).


Join our mailing list