Celebrate safely this grand final weekend
Sporting events like the AFL and NRL grand final are exciting times for celebration.
We share how to celebrate safely without relying on drinking and gambling.
Have you ever had concerns about your drinking or gambling? Are you looking for some strategies to help you think smarter and make better choices? Read on and see if we can help you enjoy the weekend whilst reducing your risks.
Drink in moderation
The best defence is a good offense — if you decide to drink, take precautions to do it safely.
Remember: pace and space.
Decide how many drinks you want to have and stick to your limit. Maybe consider having no more than one drink per hour and alternating between alcohol and non-alcoholic drinks. You could choose drinks with lower alcohol content and diluting your drinks with water or ice. Staying cool can be cool.
What you eat before drinking alcohol can have a major effect on how you feel at the end of the night — and the next morning. Picking protein-rich foods before you drink can help control hunger and decrease the rate of alcohol absorption into your bloodstream and brain.
If you don’t want to drink at all, that’s ok too! You might feel self-conscious about it, but it’s likely that your friends won’t notice or care. If anybody does hassle you and you don’t feel like explaining yourself, it can be useful to have a line planned out, for example:
“I'm on a health kick so I'm taking a break from the drinks.”
"I'm on meds (like hayfever tablets or antibiotics) that don't mix well with alcohol."
“I had a big one last week and can't face drinking again yet.”
“I have just as much fun sober."
If you want a really easy way to avoid scrutiny, the designated driver usually avoids questioning altogether, and your friends will just be happy to have a ride home.
Don’t be another statistic
The Grand Final weekend can spell danger on the road, so if you’re choosing to drink, leave the keys behind. Give yourself the opportunity to make smarter decisions — plan beforehand how you will get to and from the match, venues and any other social events. Having a designated driver, Uber or taking public transport could be part of this plan.
Talking of statistics — the game is rigged
Remember that you are not on an equal playing field. You’re up against multibillion dollar alcohol and gambling industries, who have invested copious amounts of time into making sure this isn’t a fair fight. If you’re going to watch the game, be aware that you will be targeted by higher than usual amounts of alcohol and gambling advertising. By saturating the game day with marketing, the industries hope to normalise drinking and gambling behaviour at big sporting events like Grand Final Day.
If you are going to gamble, maybe check how this self-assessment can help you to reflect and decide how much you are willing to spend. You may also like to have a look at the myths of the sports-betting industry or ways to stick to your plan at major sporting events.
Keep safe this weekend, and remember — at the end of the night, you only want to be hearing one kind of siren.