“I’m really proud to be able to promote Ocsober,” says David. “I don’t drink myself and I’ve never been a big drinker because I like to get up every morning and feel good. I think Ocsober is a great idea because it helps to create awareness of exactly how much you are drinking and what your body feels like when you stop. Being off the grog for a month will make you feel like a different person. Long term drinking makes you age, gives you a beer belly, which isn’t a great look, and affects your health, the way you look and the way you act.”
The funds raised during Ocsober will raise funds for drug and alcohol education programs in schools with a focus on expanding education for disadvantaged kids and in remote communities.
“When you think about the amount of money that’s raised through alcohol in clubs and pubs and how much people spend in bottle shops on grog, it’s easy to see how if you could put that money into education programs what a difference that would make.”
David has seen first hand the effects of drug and alcohol on our kids and community in his work as a Drug and Alcohol Officer at Daruk AMS in Mt Druitt.
“Working in that space and seeing the destruction and the effect alcohol continues to have on our community is what made me want to start NASCAR to use high profile sports people to talk to our young people about healthy lifestyles. I want to try to get the message out that it’s alright to have one or two drinks but everything should be done in moderation. You wouldn’t want to drink coke for breakfast lunch and dinner and on weekends because your health will suffer and it’s the same with alcohol.”
So while giving up alcohol for a month may be easy for light to moderate drinkers, David is the first to acknowledge that stopping drinking is far more difficult if you have a serious problem with binge drinking.
“If you have a problem with alcohol it’s not easy to come off it – it takes commitment and courage to face up and admit you have a problem and there are some really good programs, such as the twelve steps programs out there, but it takes money to support these programs and that’s what Ocsober is all about.”
As director of NASCAR and a well known sports person himself, David also understands how important it is for all of us to walk our talk if kids are going to take our healthy living messages seriously.
“People, especially kids, can tell when you’re lying and if role models are saying you shouldn’t drink then going out and getting smashed and ending up on the news that’s not a good look. You’ve got to set a good example and that’s what a lot of the programs run by Life Education, Healthy Harold and the people behind Ocsober do.”
While too often it seems that sport and alcohol go together, David says it doesn’t need to be that way and says you can choose to be a sober sportsperson and get the most out of life.
“When I was playing football, to be social you would sometimes go back to the club after the game to celebrate, but you could celebrate two ways. You could either have a couple of beers, still feel ok and get up the next morning feeling great or you could get smashed, crash your car or end up in a blue. I chose to celebrate the first way. Sport and alcohol shouldn’t go hand in hand and the sporting clubs are taking alcohol seriously now and are even breath-testing their players on a Monday morning and if they are over the limit they are stood down from the game.”
So if you decide to go sober for October it’s a good idea to think about when you drink and why, for example do you drink to celebrate or drown your sorrows? Once you know why you drink, try to come up with alternative strategies around the choices you are making, so you are pre-prepared and ready for your alcohol-free month.
“It’s interesting but I don’t see alcohol or getting drunk as a way to celebrate,” says David. “For me celebrating is about being around your family and friends and a lot of people I mix with aren’t drinkers because drunk people carry on and it isn’t a great look. Some people drink because they are shy or it brings them out of their shell, but you don’t really need it especially when you think about what alcohol has done to our communities and continues to do to our youth and not just in our Indigenous communities but all around Australia.”
For more information visit www.ocsober.com.au