Why does every Aussie celebration include this? 133



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We’re taught from a young age that alcohol isn’t a good thing. Sure, it makes people seem happy; sure, it was what people drank on special occasions; but the reality is that alcohol is a drug. So why is Australian culture so infiltrated with drugs?

For as long as I remember, celebrations and alcohol go hand in hand. At birthdays we drank alcohol. After funerals we drank alcohol. At weddings we drank alcohol. After elections we drank alcohol. After sport we drank alcohol.

Most recently, the Cricket World Cup win that was incredibly well-deserved by the men in gold, has been linked to alcohol in a way that has made me question what being Australian is all about. Shane Warne, a former world class cricket player was interviewing the players post match and could talk about nothing else other than the boozing fest they were supposedly about to embark on. This interview was being conducted on international television – it was the most watched cricket game in history.

Today social media was alight with comments saying this was inappropriate, wrong and he was being a poor role model. In some ways it most definitely was. But the real question that every Australian has to ask is why did Warnie even feel compelled to ask those questions? Why is celebrating by drinking so important to Australian culture?

It’s everywhere, as I mentioned before, I don’t remember a time in my life when a celebration didn’t involve alcohol. So why can’t we have a good time without it?

Chatting to a colleague earlier they shared that while in Paris for the Soccer World Cup some years (decades!) ago, they picked up a six pack of beer thinking it was totally normal and set out to find some friends to enjoy the festive and celebratory atmosphere. But while they walked, they could find no one doing the same thing. People were crowded in bars but they weren’t going wild drinking with celebration. They were sitting down staring at the television. They then realised that Aussies celebrated sports wins (or loses) in a very different way to other people.

All levels of sport have association with alcohol, and not just through advertising. While on a plane last week an entire NRL team was also on the flight. It’s pre-season and while I was unsure if the players were getting into the grog, the coaches sure were! The amateur footy clubs are also wild with alcohol and the club houses are often full of booze loaded men and women on a Saturday evening.

So why do we celebrate with this drug? Why is it such an integral part of Australian culture to celebrate like this? It has come close to ruining so many thing, and in some case it has ruined them. So will we ever stop? Can the Australian culture fundamentally change like we need it to?

Do you agree with the writer? Share your thoughts in the comments below… 

Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I hate the dependance on alcohol for celebrating. Even Michael Clarke says he is hung over today. That is nothing to be proud of. My closest friend was killed by a drunk driver in a hit and run when we were about 15 years old. He got a light sentence because he was good enough to give himself up when he sobered up the next morning. Since then I have detested alcohol.

  2. I don’t think the Aussie culture with alcohol will ever change .. We come from a long line of convicts .. Irish and English and drinking was part of that culture .. Has been handed down through the generations

    4 REPLY
    • Doesn’t mean to say it has to be perpetuated. I enjoy a drink, but have seen excess alcohol destroy so many lives. Some just don’t know when enough is enough.

    • And that is simply pointing out a SYMPTOM….addiction…to anything…..is an attempt to ameliorate emotional pain. Address the core issues & the addictions fall away.

    • And it wasn’t the convicts who perpetuated the problem. Supply was a monopoly controlled by the officers of the Rum Corps.

  3. I agree with the writer…there is a huge problem! I also think it is a scourge on family,s, especially where money is scarce.We all know this, and how alcohol ruins many lives,but I don,t know how this could be overcome. Perhaps something along the lines of targeting it like tobacco was?

  4. It is true that you can have a good time and remember everything if you don’t have alcohol whereas you can’t remember if you do have it , you only think that every thing went OK , could have made a fool of yourself ,and done something very bad .

  5. Achocolism is an extremely dangerous drug,I have seen the effect of addiction on a close family member it is devastating and breaks my heart,,I Do not see the need to celebrate with alcohol life gives me a high enough…the cost of alcohol is too much on a family it seems to be brought as a necessary not a luxury..people need to go to a rehabilation clinic and witness the devastating stories from alcohol..they might change their minds about drinking

  6. Its just part of our culture don’t think it will ever change.It relaxes people to open up to better conversation.I would would like to see the betting adds given the flick.Its encouraging young people to gamble.

  7. Why pick on us? Every country in the world has its favourite tipple – ours just seems to be beer. For some people it is not good but for heavens sake, why can’t we send a loved one on their way with a wake, why can’t we toast the happy couple on their wedding day and why can’t we drown our sorrows when we feel like it. I am a scotch drinker, very proud of my Scottish ancestry but don’t go overboard. I am 72 and surely if I want to buy a bottle of Chivas Regal and slowly enjoy it that is my business. My family never suffered neglect or abuse from my having a couple of drinks. Mind you I am aware of the problems it can cause but I can’t do much about that. Maybe those with an addiction will have to learn the hard way that it is not an acceptable habit. Each to their own. I’ve earned my couple of scotches a month.

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