Reclaim control with humble initiative
GYMPIE region residents have been urged to take another look at their habits with booze and to try out a new program called Hello Sunday Morning.
More than 850 Queenslanders have already completed the free program, which organisers say is not focused on scare tactics or guilt and is not an anti-alcohol program.
Hello Sunday Morning simply asks people to check out their habits with alcohol and to find a way of taking the power back so they are in control, not the other way around.
In Gympie, alcohol plays a role in 45% of the disturbances our local police officers are called to.
A range of well-known names are supporting Hello Sunday Morning, including media personalities Deborah Hutton and Hey Hey It's Saturday star John Blackman, Beaconsfield mining survivor Brant Webb, comedian Mark Mitchell and actor and Underbelly star, Gyton Grantley.
Figures show one in five Australians drink at risky levels, 60% of Gen Y drinkers engage in risky drinking and four million Australians admit to drinking just to get drunk.
To get details about the program, all people in Gympie need to do is go to hellosundaymorning.com.au.
People can decide whether they want to try life without booze for a few weeks, a month, three months or longer.
Queenslander Chris Raine - who created the program - said the whole idea is for people to feel in control and to decide how and when they drink.
He still drinks and started the project in a humble way when he wrote about his own experiences on a blog called Hello Sunday Morning.
Since then the Queensland initiative has been exported to the USA, the UK, Canada, Hong Kong and recently the project was launched in New Zealand.
More than 4700 Australians have already taken part. Chris hopes it is more than 10,000 by the end of this year. He has won a number of awards, including recent recognition in Vienna, with an award from the prestigious Waldzell Institute (based in Austria). He has also won an Architect of the Future award.
"We are not out to tell people how to live their lives or demonise booze," Chris said.
"We are out to change our current culture. It's concerning just how many people feel pressurised to drink. People are sometimes made to feel that if you aren't drinking heavily, you are not having a good time. Life's adventures don't have to be soaked in booze.
"Alcohol can get too much of a grip on people. It can damage relationships. It can affect people's potential. We want to inspire people to reach their potential. People who have done the free Hello Sunday Morning program often say they feel more confident in themselves and feel more confident about their choices. Often they lose weight - and save money.
"We are just asking people to give this a go. Take up the call. Take a break from alcohol for however long you want and see how you feel. We aren't saying give up booze forever."
Chris frequently drank up to 20 drinks a night most weekends for five years and first got drunk at the age of 10. He still drinks alcohol - but chooses how and when.
"Obviously it's not rocket science to find out that drinking lots of alcohol and eating kebabs at 3am isn't that good for you," he said.
"Our own research shows Hello Sunday Morning helps people in a big way.
"Our culture is so geared towards binge drinking. Everyone should try and experience life to the full. Sometimes so much time and money can be lost every weekend on booze.
"This is a humble idea that started in Queensland and it is getting bigger by the day. It's about making the most out of every day."