Malcolm Hewitt, 19, toasts with water as he attempts to stop drinking for three months.
Malcolm Hewitt, 19, toasts with water as he attempts to stop drinking for three months. Darryn Smith

Say hello to Sunday sober

IT IS a sobering experience that many people would like to lay claim to - partying through Saturday night and then waking up fresh as the dawn on Sunday before climbing up Mount Cooroora.

As incredible as it may sound, 19-year-old Cooroy photographer and student Malcolm Hewitt has embarked on a life-changing challenge that has made him reassess his relationship with sinking a few "coldies" with his mates.

Malcolm was never one for weekly benders, but admits to getting pretty "sloshed" at least once a month.

Now he is halfway through a self-imposed three-month alcohol ban, after he was inspired by Hello Sunday Morning founder Chris Raine.

Malcolm said he heard Chris speaking at a conference and thought, "I should really give this a go".

"I really wanted to shift the way I thought about drinking and I thought it could also have a good outcome for my health," Malcolm said.

Movement founder Chris, a former 20-drinks-a-night weekend boozer, has started what is shaping up to be a worldwide movement by calling a temporary halt to his habit, and then writing of his drinks abstinence via an online blog, Hello Sunday Morning.

Malcolm said he simply had to register online at the Hello Sunday Morning website, which more than 4700 Australians have already done, to embark on his personal enlightenment about alcohol.

"It's been fairly hard, especially sitting around when everyone's drinking, but I'm starting to enjoy the benefits now," he said.

"Living in Cooroy it's pretty hard for young people to find anything to do, so they usually end up at the pub on Fridays and weekends.

He said rather than lock himself away, he has followed the website's advice and socialised as much as ever and is doing his best to ignore the unkind remarks from his mates as he sips on water or a soft drink. Malcolm said the wisecracks were now giving way to his friends thinking a little about their own habits.

"One of the reasons I'm doing it is to try and get them to rethink their relationship with alcohol - they don't have to take the challenge, just think more about what they're doing and how drinking affects them."

Malcolm is not about to permanently forego alcohol, but is keen to be in control of his drinking rather than the other way around.

Chris says alcohol misuse now costs Australia over $15 billion annually and 60% of Gen Y drinkers engage in risky drinking.

"We are not out to tell people how to live their lives or demonise booze. We are out to change our current culture," Chris said.

"People are sometimes made to feel that if you aren't drinking heavily, you are not having a good time. Life's adventures don't have to be soaked in booze."

And Malcolm reckons if not for his Saturday night spent sober at a party, he never would have had the inclination to climb above Pomona that recent Sunday and see the world in a new and clearer light.

As Chris says: "It's about making the most out of every day. Go to to find out more."

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