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Breaking up with booze


Breaking up with booze

Sami Muirhead has become sober curious as she reads up on the damage being done to women’s health by our obsession with drinking.

Have you seen the plethora of books on the topic of quitting drinking alcohol? Quit Lit is the new black.

I am currently reading Quit Like A Woman: The Radical Choice To Not Drink In A Society Obsessed With Alcohol by Holly Whitaker. The book is genius. It is part science (a brutal reminder that alcohol is ethanol, and we are drinking that stuff, which is like the same stuff we fuel our cars with); part a funny memoir of the author’s own battle with drinking; and part mind-blowing insights into our society, where drinking is considered the cornerstone of cool.

It has made me a little sober curious. I love a wine. I love a champers. I love a gin and tonic. I love a cold beer. But I must admit, I use alcohol to celebrate the victories and to lubricate the tougher days. I almost wish I could un-read parts of the book, because you start to realise it is mums who are probably the most targeted market when it comes to pushing the message that alcohol is the best way to celebrate and commiserate life.

I have tea towels that scream: “Yes way, rosé!” I have a magnet that says: “It’s not drinking alone if the dog is home” and I have a wine glass that screams: “Coffee, on the bench: Alcohol, suit up!”

Women are against the marketing machines of the world and the billion- dollar companies that want us to buy their booze. Remember when smoking was touted as a really cool thing to do? It hurts me to admit it, but this alcohol-obsessed culture is hurting women.

Am I an alcoholic? No. Do I use alcohol as a crutch? Absolutely. It is quite simply hard not to drink. There are a dozen or so other brilliant books about the relationship with women and alcohol including Glorious Rock Bottom, and Girl Walks Out Of A Bar.  The conversation has commenced, and I want to hear more. I don’t want to quit drinking, but I am at least thinking about what exactly I am consuming and feel like my blinkers have come off.

We drink at baby showers and birthdays, we knock back a few at Friday knock-offs at work, we sip at graduations, funerals, weddings, because it is mid-week, at book club and at brunch. Wow! The list is long.

So, I am trying to swap a few wines for cups of tea this week and I clearly need some new tea towels and magnets.


Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami tune into Mix FM.

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