Me and the boys have become a bit concerned about your drinking recently and we thought we should have a quiet word with you before things take a turn for the worse.
You’ve always been a bit of a larrikin, Dave, and we all know that having the reputation as a larrikin in Australia is as close as it gets to living the dream. We larrikins are devil-may-care, knock-about blokes, with a cheerful disregard for pomp and authority, and a twinkle in our eye. We’re bloody good company if you’re a bloke, and irresistible if you’re a sheila. A larrikin can yarn with an archbishop, skin a rabbit and pot a trifecta. He knows how to look after himself in a fight, but he never takes it that far because he can talk himself out of trouble just as easily as he can talk himself into it. He’s always up for a beer or two, but he can hold it, because larrikins drink without consequence – even our hangovers add to our character, and they’re easily overcome the next morning with a quick hair of the dog.
You can drink every day at a level that the wowser medicos tell you is odds-on to do something horrible to you, someday, and your drinking mates will see something heroic in that. We’ll forgive your excesses and the occasional spectacle you make of yourself – we’d be hypocrites if we didn’t! We’ll even give a rueful shake of the head if your wife chucks you out of the house and files for separation, or we’ll call you a scallywag for driving home with four schooners inside you. But there’s a line you can’t cross …
Every now and then, you hear of a legendary larrikin who’s been exposed as a fraud – not a larrikin after all. And what has been their give-away? Refusing a drink with their mates, that’s what. Sometimes, even for health reasons.
When this happens, of course, we must assume they’re pulling our legs and it’s our duty to get them back on the piss with the rest of us. So we demand their reasons, tell them they’re nuts, push a cold one into their hand and tell them not to be bloody silly. Nine times out of ten that sorts it out and we can all get back to normal drinking, but every now and then you get a persistent one and that’s where it gets messy. Like it did the other night when you sat with us drinking diet Cokes and looking awkward.
Because when you refuse a drink with your mates, you’re actually pointing a finger. You’re not just saying that you might have a problem, you’re saying that we might have one, too, and we can’t have that. But if we can get you back on the sauce then what we’re all doing becomes normal again so there’s nothing to be concerned about, right?
Dave, mate, I’m sorry to be blunt, but you need to harden up. Be a bit more like Lenny – when his doctor advised him to cut down on the beers, he told him to get stuffed and told him to just put him on the stronger diabetes medication. You can’t let these blokes push you around. It’s not just the grog you’ll be giving up if you stop drinking, you know. Remember Greg a few years ago? – sat with us for about three weeks after he decided to go the full lemon-lime-and-bitters, and he was like a different person! Nothing we could put our finger on, but he seemed to be assessing us the whole time. I can’t say I really missed him after he left – I hear he’s started reffing early morning soccer matches for his kid’s school team. Can’t trust a man with those sorts of priorities.
Anyway Dave, all we ask is that you consider what you’re giving up and what your mates are going to start thinking about you if you act like you’re better than them. We’re not getting any younger, you know, and there’s already been a few of us falling by the wayside, so get over yourself and come and have a drink with us again.
Two-thirds of people with an alcohol usage disorder (AUD) are male, yet men make up only a third of the people who seek help about their drinking.
The social pressures to drink can be overwhelming for men who are trying to change their relationship with alcohol.
At Hello Sunday Morning, we believe that one simple, free and kind thing we can all do is never ask anyone who declines a drink for an explanation.
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Not ask anyone who declines a drink why. That’s a small but significant contribution. I often do ask but it is an earnest question and made out of genuine interest and out of envy
Very funny article , but also how it is . I have stoped drinking for fifty odd days i am 48 and have been binge drinking 2 times a week since I was 14 or so .I am challenging my self to a year of no drinking . And feel like a stranger around friends . Asking me why I don’t drink ,and rolling there eyes ,Any way thanks for the articles and advice . Angus
This makes me sad it just rings so true. In this area fellas have it tougher than women… in a general, cultural sense… when they want to make a change. As a woman, my female friends offer congrats and admiration when I say I’ve been giving it a rest.
This (male)shaming is so deep yet subtle and frankly, in itself creates great problems in families. And them there’s alcoholism.
Sending love and support to all men facing the dilemma of losing their entire network when they make the decision to be better men.
The most difficult thing is that when you stop drinking you know you lose out on opportunities for intimate connections with male friends and relatives. Probably the biggest single problem facing men is that we don’t have enough genuine friendships in the way women tend to do and getting pissed is a substitute for that. It’s a bogus connection but there aren’t really many alternatives currently available.
“At Hello Sunday Morning, we believe that one simple, free and kind thing we can all do is never ask anyone who declines a drink for an explanation”
Absolutely spot on. That societal pressure keeps a lot of people stuck in drinking. Thank you for helping create change around this.
Definitely a favourite story. Thanks Dave. And screw the fake mates with beer in hand and fear in heart.
I would like to know if this letter is real or not? If it is the author should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. There is so much more I could say……
Ah so true but there is always hope I popped into s pub last week with some mates and had nothing to drink but I did tell some funny stories and had them laughing and no pressure to drink ( it has taken about 12 months to get to this point )
Wonderful piece, probably my favourite one yet…. chilling as it is so damn accurate
Empowering stuff and good to know we are not alone
Find an excuse for the best of your mates, (you drink with) that you have planned and have a backup plan. Have a beer a make up an excuse to leave early, (even make it a light), at worst partake knowing you are strong enough to get on with your life. Just think about what you are willing to sacrifice to stop the drinking.
P. S alcohol is not costing a reasonable amount. The positives are all there but sobriety clears the path toward them. Like a fog lifts after the sunrise. 🌅
Sounds like you need a mate that doesn’t drink. You’ve got a friend in me.
You’ve got a friend in me because I have read your letter from the people you drink with.
It’s sounds like your opinion is a valuable one and it’s good to have people like that around. Your mates are worried your not one of them so you must hold their respect as someone to guage their act upon.
Nothing bad can ever come from cleaning up your drinking habits and anyone will say that.
The bad thing about you quitting alcohol is not a bad thing at all. You become another contender in a broader society and begin to state your claim on a broader picture.
The world needs drinkers to make poor decisions the sober will capatalise upon.
Think about this Dave was your drinking subject to this? Can you afford it? Not for long is my guess before you are regretting the undertaking of a drink.
You’ve got a friend in me Dave.
mates? I had to ditch every one of them. Wasn’t just the beers, shots, double CC and dry’s but the cones, the hurry, pills, and fighting…..someone was going to die and going solo was my way of saying “ enough “ . Now if I see them I’m jeered and laughed at, finger point’n and put down. In the end, not one of my mates…..was my mate.
Oh my goodness this rings so true. Substitute girls night out for blokes in the pub and a glass of wine for the beer and the story is all the same. Many people say that when you stop drinking the people around you don’t really care, but I am here to tell you that many do care. They care a lot..
It’s my third go at stopping drinking. It’s actually much easier once you have already done it because you have been through all this sort of things already and most of your closer friends are used to you not drinking. The one thing I noticed is that the people who care most about whether you are drinking or not are generally the ones who have a drink problem themselves. You also have to get used to people explaining their own drinking when you tell them you have stopped. This piece brings that out nicely.
I can see this is tongue in cheek but:
Dear Dave, get better mates.
Very well written and I’m sure very accurate in many cases. But I wonder if, for many men, it is the response they fear from their male friends; but maybe their friends would not respond that way. That’s what’s happened to me so far in my 51 days AF. I’ve been surprised and delighted.