Brisbane Heat star aims to curb drinking among young adults

Young people at greater risk of alcohol-related harm than adults

With the silly season upon us, Brisbane Heat and Queensland Bulls cricketer Nick Buchanan is fronting a new campaign for Hello Sunday Morning and the Vodafone Foundation to encourage young Queenslanders to change their relationship with alcohol.

Hello Sunday Morning is a social-media led movement determined to create a better drinking culture, with participants encouraged to set goals and share their stories with other participants. More than 30,000 Australians have already signed up to go three months or more without alcohol and blogged about their journey on Hello Sunday Morning.

Buchanan’s personal story isn’t uncommon for a sportsperson: when a series of major injuries saw him take time off the pitch, he turned to alcohol and in Buchanan turn into an excessive drinker. To regain control, he turned to Hello Sunday Morning and committed to staying off alcohol for three months.

“When I came across Hello Sunday Morning, I was drawn to how positive and motivating the community was,” said Mr Buchanan. “It appealed to me because it encourages you to divert your energy into achieving goals and sharing them with others using an online platform that’s similar to social media.”

“After completing the challenge, I felt physically and mentally stronger than ever,” he said. “My all-round fitness improved greatly and I’ve seen a noticeable difference in rehabilitation and recovery from injuries.”

With the support of Hello Sunday Morning, six months ago the young cricketer made some big lifestyle changes – including the decision to abstain from alcohol permanently. He now has some fantastic advice for young Queenslanders.

Nick Buchanan’s tips for saying Hello to Sunday morning

  1. Set goals: Set yourself a series of ambitious targets to achieve within a set period of time. Health and fitness goals work particularly well and are the most commonly cited reasons for joining Hello Sunday Morning, whether that’s losing weight, running further or taking up a new sport. If sport’s not your thing, think about learning to play a musical instrument or mastering a new skill, like photography.
  2. Track and share your progress: Keeping track of your improvements can be a powerful motivator but there’s no point doing great things if you can’t show off about it. What makes Hello Sunday Morning so unique is the ability to share your experiences amongst a positive and empowering community. The new smartphone app due in early 2015 will make this a lot easier to both track and share!
  3. Stay strong: don’t bow to peer pressure: One of the toughest things about taking a break from booze can be pressure from friends to have ‘just one’, especially during the silly season. This can be a minefield, but one that’s easily navigated. Develop the confidence to say no and cite a personal reason – this could be that you’re focused on a fitness or training goal or plan ahead and offer to be the sober driver. If all else fails, drink a soft drink that looks alcoholic.
  4. Do everything you would normally do drunk, sober: The worst thing you could do, is to stay at home and hibernate. By taking a break from booze you learn two major things: one – the reasons you thought you needed booze and two – that you don’t NEED booze to be yourself. If you spot someone nice on the eyes at a party, go and talk to them. If there is an empty dance floor, start the dance floor yourself! By doing these things sober, it pushes the value of alcohol down and the value of yourself up.

Founder and CEO of Hello Sunday Morning, Chris Raine, (also former Young Queenslander of the Year recipient) says Nick Buchanan is living proof that there’s life after alcohol.

“With such overwhelming societal expectations on Australians to drink, we founded Hello Sunday Morning to provide an alternative form of support to help Australians realise that drinking is a choice – not an expectation. Having Nick on board as an ambassador to share his experience and spread that message among Queenslanders, particularly young men who are going through a rough patch, that there is a better way,” said Mr Raine.

Hello Sunday smartphone app on its way

To make it easier for people to take a break from alcohol, Hello Sunday Morning and the Vodafone Foundation will launch a smartphone app early next year. The app will enable users to set goals, monitor their progress and connect with other participants via their smartphone.

According to recent figures from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), more than 12 million people use smartphones in Australia and “are engaging more intensively online, downloading more data and making greater use of mobile handsets”, with 68 per cent of users accessing the internet via three or more devices.

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Notes to editors:

  • For more information on Hello Sunday Morning
  • For more information on the Vodafone Foundation
  • Research from Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reveals that young Australians have developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.
    • 75% of Australians agree that Australia is a nation with a drinking problem.
    • Young adults aged 18-24 are more likely to drink at harmful levels on a single occasion than the rest of the adult population.
  • A recent study by Dr Nicholas Carah from the University of Queensland discovered that when compared to establish forms of treatment, HSM users were:
    • More likely to be between 20 and 49 years of age.
    • More likely to be female and in young adulthood (61%).
    • A majority (95%) engaged in risky or high-risk drinking.
    • Around half (53%) were likely to be dependent on alcohol.
    • The research also identified the goals that motivated this distinctive demographic of young drinkers dedicated to revaluating their relationship with alcohol.
    • Out of ten different goals seven related to a Hello Sunday Morning period of abstinence, ‘Fitness’ (30%) and ‘Mind and Body’ (35%) were the two most common, while ‘sobriety’ was the third most significant goal (21%).
  • Research from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and Queensland Health showed that there were over 35,000 alcohol-related hospitalisations between 2011-2012 and half of Queenslanders over the age of 14 drink every week, with 10% of over 14s drinking every day.