Kiwi booze culture: It is that bad

Last updated 05:00 30/01/2013
Fairfax NZ

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My younger sister recently turned 18. She saw me endure a horrific addiction to alcohol and because of that, she can happily enjoy a couple of drinks, but doesn't see how getting 'trashed' will make it any more fun. She saw the aftermath of many parties at my flat, and couldn't understand why anybody would let themselves get to the point of no return.

I no longer drink, but because of the binge drinking culture I have seen all my life, I have been to a detox facility and have been in A.A. for nearly four years. I'm only 21.

Young people in New Zealand don't have the sophisticated idea of enjoying a nice glass of something. They would rather buy multiple bottles of bathtub vodka and drink until they fall.

I work in a bottle store in a low socio-economic area. One family I serve, and turn away on a regular basis, is heartbreaking. There are three generations of alcoholics in that family. Granddad will come in with mum, and more recently, a daughter or two. They will buy the cheapest beer we have as I open the store in the morning, and then as the day progresses, they will repeatedly come back and attempt to buy more alcohol. It's such a concern, but there is only one thing I can do about the situation and that is to refuse to serve them.

My store has our regulars, some are lovely, others make me wonder because not so long ago, I was one of them.

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