Australia is a country of fun-loving beer-guzzlers.
The people are chill, the ale even chillier, and everyone makes a good time as much of a priority as working hard. You see people at the pubs at noon on a weekday, “beer o’clock” happens each Friday at corporate offices and much of the social atmosphere is built not only around, but upon, always having a drink in hand.
Which is why it’s funny that since I got here, my drinking has decreased dramatically.
Unless it’s a special occasion, like the party I threw for St. Patrick’s Day a few weeks ago, I limit myself to two drinks — maybe three if I feel like it. This why the ever-common day drinking rarely appeals to me. Anyone who’s lived or visited here for any length of time knows that this is almost like desecrating the Australian flag. Aussies love to buy other people beer, they like to spend hours with you while you drink it and they think something’s wrong if you’re sitting at the bar with a glass of water during any point in the day/night.
I still like alcohol and some liquor — a nice glass of New Zealand sauv blanc or Bailey’s is often the perfect way to wind down the day. But I’m just kinda over all this drinking in excess and all the time. Here’s why:
I’ve been drinking half my life: Call it a wild streak or adolescence at the Jersey Shore, but I started drinking at 15. I didn’t drink all the time, but I drank enough. My parents didn’t sanction this, but I always knew kids who could get beer, some of them my friends’ older siblings. Point is, you get a little tired of drinking at a fast pace when you’ve been doing it a long time.
I have alcoholism in my family: It’s not rampant, but a propensity to get drunk and act like a belligerent fool courses through my bloodline. I am very aware that when that kind of addiction runs in your family, you have to be mindful of your behavior with said vice. Sadly, I also know from experience that I can fall into the “belligerent” drunk category rather than the “happy” one. All the more reason to drink super-moderately.
I’m fitter now: In college, I drank like a champ. Going to a frat party at 10 p.m.? Let’s start doing vodka shots at 9:30 p.m. And I wouldn’t even get sick. This is because I had gained the freshman/sophomore 30 and maintained a diet of mostly carbs. Of course I was able to pound a six-pack of Natty Ice, no problem. Now that I”m actually a normal weight and try to eat right and exercise, my body can’t handle that poison at that speed in that quantity.
I don’t like the beer in Australia: I know some people will want to smack me for this one, but the beer here just doesn’t do it for me. It doesn’t taste good, it’s too expensive and I often feel gross and headachy after I drink it. I was a craft and local beer drinker back in Pennsylvania, and I feel like the options here are too few and severely lacking in quality.
How have your drinking habits changed as you’ve gotten older, traveled or moved into a different stage of life?