30 Days and 30 NightsOctober 24, 2014

“It’s a great advantage not to drink among hard drinking people.”

- "The Great Gatsby" (F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925)

Ocsober is about abstaining from alcohol. Not a few would be confused, as novelists have written about it. (And many of their works are being praised.) A recent survey shows more Australian teenagers embracing a healthy lifestyle. As G.K. Chesterton puts it, drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable. But drinking because you have no company is not uncommon.

A month without alcohol is a daunting task. This may mean avoiding socialisation. You have to turn down mates (or kin), which might make you uncomfortable. You have to get out of your comfort zone. On the upside, this means trying to know more about yourself. Along the way, you'll learn that anything is possible.

A new trend

Michael Livingston, University of NSW public health academic, pointed out a recent survey showing the decline of the number of teen drinks to be uniform across age, gender, and ethnic background. But he surmised that factors like spending more time on the Internet could be one of the reasons. Nonetheless, the result was encouraging.

“Respondents were approximately twice as likely to report abstention from alcohol in 2010 as 2001 once [these] factors were controlled for,” Livingston said. "The rates dropped just as fast among this group."

Life Education, the organisation behind this month-long campaign, believe that alcohol-related problems can get worse. It's been proven many times that alcohol-related harm is fatal.

Be an example to them

Most cases on teenage drinking stem from peer pressure, so it's not difficult to think of ways of encouraging youngsters to avoid alcohol. Here are some suggestions:

Tell them about the dangers of excessive drinking. It is proven that too much alcohol will affect a teenager's mental ability. This can be bad, as the body still grows during the teenage years. If you're dealing with children from ages 8-10, tell them that alcohol is only for adults. As plain and simple as that. But those from ages 9-12 would be more specific. (They will ask about the taste, of how it does to you.) Be careful on how you respond, explaining to them about the harm caused by excessive alcohol. If they're older, let them know about the risks. There's no guarantee that they'll heed your words. Don't be judgmental.

Try something new. To keep their minds off alcohol, you must think of something that will keep them occupied. Backyard cricket. If not, a game of football on the telly. The outdoors, where there are lots to see. Read. (We're not pulling your leg. Everyone is encourage to be passionate about books.)

Time to change. Try to have a different outlook. A change of habit will be hard, but it's still possible. Teens might find it hard to grasp the wisdom behind it, but keep in mind that action speaks louder than words.

We believe we miss something. It's your turn to share your sugesstion(s).

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