Who is Chris?

 

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Since the age of 14 I haven’t really spent a lot of time at all with Sunday mornings. They have always seemed to pass me by.

The reason for this is quite simple. Alcohol. I have always enjoyed drinking (and still do). My family drink. My friends drink. Everyone at my work drinks. And we all do it excessively.

It is a constant in my life that has become symbiotically entwined in almost all of those great memories since I was a teenager.

The first time I got drunk was when I was 14. I went to my brother’s uni party where I ended the night by throwing up all over his couch. It was a pretty commonplace christening into the wonderful world of ‘getting smashed’.

Like many other teenagers, whilst between the ages of 15 and 17 years, my brothers and I regularly (and systematically) decreased the amount in the bottles in my parents’ liquor cabinet. (Of course we left enough to dilute with water to disguise their depleted levels.) Sorry mum.

At 17, it was the shots of tequila that always gave me the confidence to talk Spanish to the South Americans while I traveled the continent for the year. And it was over a pint that I made friends with the backpackers in England.

From 18 to 21 I practically put myself through university by nightclub event promotion, the success of which was usually solely contingent on how much people spent on the bar.

Now at 22, I work  for a youth advertising agency in Brissie called FRESH. Friday night work functions often turn into Saturday morning stroll home in my work get-up.

This blog is about how my life will change when you take alcohol out of the picture for a year. Just to see what happens. I will be posting my story, the latest research and advertising campaigns all in an effort to answer the age-old question…

Why do we binge drink?

 

Hard at work

25 thoughts on “Who is Chris?

  1. Hey Chris,
    A bold and noble venture you have set out on. Well done. Ironically just this morning I resolved to go without too and not because I have a hang over – I don’t. But my ambition is not as soaring as yours – no grog for a week is my goal. If you fancy some television coverage .. go all the way tabloid and come to TT. Good luck fella. I shall continue to follow your progress with interest. Question – did your gf dump you because you gave up drinking? Soldier on!

    1. Thank you very much for the support Gavin. Its great to hear about people’s resolutions to not drink and how they end up going, what difference (if any) that it actually makes to their quality of life. So if you have any interesting revelations through the experience please post them up! I guess if a week is long enough to give you a change of scenery then great. How much would you need to be paid to go for a year do you think?

      I think that a bit of television coverage could be good for the project. Hopefully it could bring a diverse cross section of input to the blog and the project. Especially the everyday young Australian who loves a drink. We want to find out what it is that they love about drinking and what function it plays in their life. The good stuff, as well as the bad.

      To answer the question. Haha, no definitely not. My drinking is usually a reason for girls not to like me haha.

  2. Hi there Chris,

    Just saw your website in Goodhealth Magazine and thought I would drop you a line. I too have attempted to go without a drink for a year! I managed to last 4 months! Still a good effort I guess but I am thinking of giving it another go. I must admit that my life was so much clearer and I definately had a lot more energy and was a lot more motivated.

    Would you say that you are an alcoholic?

    I’m not sure if I am, but I do know that it consumes my life! I drink a couple of times during the week and every weekend and am generally hungover after every session.

    Anyway good luck with it and I may join you.

    cheers

    Chelsea

    1. Hi Chelsea,

      4 months is awesome! When I tried to do it before – I used to get to about 3 weeks. So well done.

      I wouldn’t say that I’m an alcoholic – but I definitely used to drink for the wrong reasons.

      Good luck with your mission and if you ever need support, feel free to get in touch!

      Chris 🙂

  3. Chris you are a poet and a scholar.

    My grade 12 English communication students are following your daily travels and battles closely. They dig it, so keep it up.

    Chris

  4. Hi Chris,

    Congrats on taking a step toward making a difference in this way. The power, I believe, is in choice. It’s great to see you weilding this choice thing to see what you can do with it… And perhaps inspire others to do the same.

    Actually, I never drank much. Got into it a bit when I was13. I never particularly enjoyed drinking alcohol, I was just trying to be cool. Trying to be cool is a cycle that could have really sent me off the rails. I was lucky that I moved interstate, and got to start fresh at a new school. When my new friends got into drinking at 15, I started getting bored by hearing the same conversation at school every Monday… They seemed to be doing the same thing every weekend. A sad cycle that wasn’t going anywhere.

    I just started spending more time with a different group of friends. There was still alcohol at some of their parties, but not all. And it didn’t seem to run the show in the same way. Much more civilised.

    I’ve been involved in personal growth and health and wellness for nearly 10 years now… So I vary rarely drink alcohol. This gives me space for a much more subtle awareness of issues that might be affecting my body, mind balance… My thoughts, my emotions, the food I’m eating and how I’m eating it…

    I’m now pregnant with my second baby and reading your post makes me realise how lucky I am that “giving up drinking” is not something I have to worry about while I am pregnant.

    I really wish you the best in this experiment, however it turns out for you. Although I feel lucky that I’m not a drinker, I don’t have any sense that I’m better than people who are. Or that they should be more like me.

    To me, drinking is more of a symptom than a problem. I’m more interested in people finding fulfillment and peace with who they are… I reckon drinking or not drinking kinda naturally finds a healthy balance through that process.

    Keep up the good work 🙂

    1. Hi Yollana,

      Its so interesting how different people look like they are on different paths on the surface but just underneath that, we are all trying to achieve pretty much the same thing.

      Its really cool to know that there is such a conscious person out there that has dedicated such an extended period of time to find that! To hear your words on a Sunday morning, is definitely a cause for some serious smiling action. 🙂

      Have a great day and all the best in your pregnancy.

      Chris.

  5. Hi Chris,
    I saw your article in Good Health magazine and am very interested to follow your path. I too have decided to stop drinking alcohol and have just completed 10 weeks of being alcohol free. I was drinking for the wrong reasons and really do believe that alcohol is a great destroyer. I am not sure whether I will never drink again but I would like to think that I will never get drunk again. Good luck in your venture.

    Susanne

  6. Hello Chris,

    Like many others I read your article in Good Health Magazine and was so inspired by what you are doing. I am an expat-Brisbanite and when I lived there several years ago I was consumed by my drinking, relationships starting because under the guise of alchohol that guy that would seem terrible when sober always appealed to me when drunk, that and the fact that it is a National pastime to drink, I didnt know who I would be without it. My love of drinking started when i was 15 quickly became a part of my persona, I dont think I would have known who I was without it for years. After a few years of wondering why I attract the things into my life I became interested in Personal Development and after a while it was apparent that I really didnt know who I was, to everyone else I am happy, social outgoing etc, to me it was a different story.. I have now decided that I want to find out who I am as a sober person and your story has helped me to make that decision

    1. That is a really amazing thing to say. I wish you all the best on your journey going forward. From what you have said in your comment – I know that it will be a highly rewarding one. The best of luck!

  7. Hi Chris,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading these posts. Thanks for the insightful look into this topic – a topic that many people in the media and politics are quick to criticise but happy to skim the surface of the problem.

    As your research has uncovered, the core issue behind binge drinking goes a lot deeper than just wanting to have a great night out with friends. The real reasons underlying why we drink is something everyone could benefit from considering for themselves.

    I completely agree with you that a positive change is needed for so many aspects of our youth culture so future generations don’t have to be plagued with the same issues young people face today.

    1. Thanks Gemma. It’s cool to get some great feedback like that.

      I’m glad you enjoyed reading through them 🙂

  8. Hi Chris,

    I just want to congratulate you on Hello Sunday Morning. I have recently been motivated to stop drinking, it’s been 2 months now, and it has completely changed my perspective on alcohol! For starters my body and mind have never been stronger! I feel as if I am rebelling against social norms, running against the wind, being the black sheep! Which is really empowering, but also really strange… think about it? Why is it that I am looked at weird for not getting intoxicated? I’m not the one urinating in the pot plant in the lounge room, the one spewing in the kitchen sink, the one waking up with an unexplained black eye, the one being stalked from their one night stand, losing their wallet or phone. And people ask if there is something wrong with me, they can’t understand why not drinking with them. Are you serious? It astounds me how they think that I’m the one with the problem. I feel as if I’m going to come home to an intervention with my friends and family trying me make me see the light, bring me back to the booze!

    On the flip side I do think there is a down side to not drinking. When you want to be social and catch up with mates. It gets to a point when you’re not on the same level with them anymore, jokes don’t become as funny, words start to get lost, and you feel yourself alienated.

    I think if anything- that would be the reason for me to start drinking again.
    I believe binge drinking follows the same set of rules as any other drug addiction. Only you yourself can make the decision to stop drinking- you need to be the one to suffer, to see the symptoms, to crash and burn in order to realise that drinking will not help in the prosperity of your life. Advertising, friends, family and society in general cannot make that decision for you. Once you have made that decision or choice to stop. Then the support should become visible through advertising, friends, family and society in general to guide you with your choice. I believe everyone has had or will have that epiphany to stop binge drinking, whether or not they will lock in their choice is determined on the availability of support from our society.

    And that is the challenge- Alcohol has deep roots in western culture- like you mentioned in your earlier blogs its associated with festivities, celebrations ect. Apart from it being ingrained into the social norms of society it is also a massive money making machine with corporations.
    It will be interesting to see how our generation will use what we learnt from our binge drinking era to guide future generations.

    So kudos to any individual who has the courage to make a stand!

    Well done Chris!

    Daniel Flecker.

  9. Dear Chris

    Just so thrilled to hear of your ambition this year. So very proud of you as your Mum & Dad must be. Whilst a drink or 2(literally) can be enjoyable and fun – more is destructive. It brings out the ugly side of one’s character if not controlled, and results in health issues not many people seem to talk about- Depression, regret, lack of self confidence, not to mention physical harm etc.
    I drink & enjoy & these days am very much in control of how much I drink. I consider myself fortunate that I did not start drinking moderate amounts of alcohol until I was almost 30. I feel saddened that young teens are able to access it so freely & excessively without understanding its effects & long term consequences.

    I hope you have a great impact on many young talented people such as yourself. I wish you so much success & happiness in your life, & I hope we dance again one day. Love Rozzie Wilson

    1. Hola Rozzie! That is very kind of you to say!! Thank you very much!

      Yeah – we are at a bit of a turning point in our history. I think young people are ready to change the culture that has very much come to a head in the past 10 years. I believe anyway. 🙂

  10. Dear Chris

    I came across your website unexpectedly after I saw a link from your facebook site mentioning Parklife. I started wondering how your ParkLife adventure was but what I came across was so unexpected but invigorating & inspiring at the same time. I still haven’t followed up on your Parklife adventure yet because I just sank myself into reading all the blogs and comments of what you are doing.

    I still remember meeting you a few years ago and can only assume you have come a long way on your personal growth journey to take on such a challenging and sensitive topic. I think what you are doing is amazing, it certainly has made me think more about the alcohol I consume. I’m not an alcoholic, far from it, but there are times when I can so easily slip into OLD times, “Just one more”..

    I look forward to reading more about your insights & travels

    All the best

    Armando

    1. Cheers Armando!

      It’s definitely an interesting journey and a challenge to manage alcohol after doing the personal development stuff.

      I think although we know what is good, we get anchored into mental images of previous memories with alcohol. It’s a constant challenge.

      Look forward to catching up Armando!

      Chris.

  11. Hey Chris,
    I’m a 21-year-old American here on exchange and heard about your conquest from Adam Penberthy who came to talk to us in our consumer cultures class today at QUT. Back in the states, we drown ourselves in alcohol in our earliest years of independence – college years (uni). Since there isn’t the immense initiation of beer bongs, beer pong, kings cup, fraternities, etc. here, do you see the younger drinking age in Australia taking away the mystery of alcohol or the converse with more availability of alcohol for younger people? I’m really glad that somebody my age would even think of doing something like this because as you mentioned, drinking is one of the biggest social things we can do – grab a beer with a friend, go clubbing with friends or a beer at a bbq. How has this affected your friends? Have you become more active? Have you had any kind of negative feedback? Do you think it’ll change how you drink after this year? Ok, I’ll now go read some of your blogs and hopefully find some answers. : )
    Good luck!
    Giordana

    1. Hi Giordana,

      Thanks for taking the time to write such a long comment. You have a great curiosity :).

      Sorry if my answers are a little short but I hope they answer your questions..

      1) My friendship circles have definitely shifted. But totally in a good way. I think I honor myself and what I want to do rather than what I need to do in order to have a drink with the boys. So, lost a few, gained a few. C’est le vie.

      2) I have definately become more active. I still love going out and having a dance though so, not always the sharpest tool on Sunday Mornings but I still get stuff done!!

      3) 99% of feedback has been awesome.

      4) Definitely. The reasons behind why I used to drink have changed so I don’t think my old drinking behaviour will serve me in the way it used to.

      The best of luck with you trip over here. Stay in touch!!

      Chris.

  12. Hey Chris,
    Just read about your blog and wanted to pat you on the back. I have never been a drinker so much of what you write about i don’t understand too deeply from a personal perspective, but to step outside the social pressure box and do what you have done speaks volumes of your courage to face some deeper things and see an incredible amount of positives.

    Well done… who knows where this will go now!

    Bruce

  13. Hey Chris,
    Just saw your initiative on the 7pm project and decided to check out your website. Right now I’m sitting in front of my fire drinking a glass of wine, today I went to lunch with a girlfriend and had 2 glasses of wine. Tomorrow night I’m going to a friends for red wine and pizza and the following night a thai restaurant with old work friends followed by cocktails… I’d like to take up the 3 month challenge.. I just can’t start it for a few days yet! I’m 35, I don’t binge drink (well I guess if binge drinking is 4 drinks then maybe sometimes I do – but I don’t drink to the point of blacking out or vomiting) I do however, drink most days. I enjoy wine with my dinner – it has become a part of life. I work in hopsitality and a drink always helps me to relax at the end of a shift. A year and a half ago I started university and I definitely have not been drinking as much while studying, which is positive. It is a bit scary thinking of not drinking but hey it is only 3 months right! I’m sure my brain and body will feel the difference. So… where do I sign up?
    Congratulations again for inspiring so many people!
    Linda.

  14. Just spend an amazing week at an amazing place- with amazing people – Fraiser island with nick☺️ So much better to enjoy the days without a groggy brain ( well except for one day which really reminded me why it really just dosent make me happy!)
    I have decided to do the 3 month challenge☺️ Thanks for the inspiration and congrats

  15. Hi Chris,
    I am 100 days away from turning 60 and again reflecting on my relationship with alcohol. It is a common thing i have done throughout my life with varied success, usually brought about by a painful binge session. It is no different today except for the fact that I am writing this comment and the powerful motivation of turning 60.
    It’s my hope to use the next 100 days to reflect and take different action with regards to my drinking and live the rest of my life with increased meaning.
    Thanks for listening.
    William.

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