A normal bloke, eight to ten stubbies a night. A slab to himself on a Saturday night.
Wodonga’s Michael Rose wasn’t out of control. He was a working man, a father-of-three and a loving husband.
But now, without the beer goggles, Michael can see clearly how harmful his drinking was.
“It was hurting my family, I didn’t really think much of it at the time,” he said.
“My kids had seen me drink everyday of their life and I want them to see it’s not the natural thing to do.”
Mr Rose’s nine month journey to reduce his drinking was the subject of a Wodonga Council and VicHealth ‘Who’s it gonna hurt?’ campaign and documentary.
Councillor Kat Bennett said the campaign, which will run online, on TV and at the last race of Wodonga’s Gold Cup, puts a human face on the affects of harmful alcohol consumption.
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She said compared to the rest of the state Wodonga has much higher incidences of alcohol-related injury and violence, emergency department presentations and assaults.
The number of serious road injuries involving alcohol in Wodonga is more than twice the state average, and each month more than 40 per cent of the city’s men are at risk of short-term alcohol-related harm.
Before cutting down on alcohol Michael’s drinking was causing liver problems and affecting his relationships, his wife Stacey said.
“[The children] don’t like going near him when he’s drinking, I don’t let him sleep in our bed when he’s drinking,” she said.
Mr Rose said it wasn’t the first time he’d tried to cut down on alcohol, but this time ‘something snapped’.
“My children, they even say ‘Dad if you didn’t get drunk last night you’d be able to come to the park with us’ – it does hit home then, definitely,” he said at the start of the documentary.
Now, Mr Rose averages a drink a month, has lost 33 kilograms and can be found at the gym most mornings or playing with his children.
His transformation has inspired many friends to alter their own habits and it’s hoped the documentary will inspire more people to reconsider their next drink.
“I’m getting back to being me, I’m getting back to being the dad that was out playing with his kids,” he said.
For Stacey, Michael’s change has been enormous.
“He’s happy all the time he has energy he’s just a different person, a complete different person,” she said.
“He was drinking every day pretty much, he’d write himself off on weekends. Since the start of the year I haven’t see him written off.
“We’ve fallen in love again, we’re in our little love bubble.”
Dr Torquil Duncan-Brown said Mr Rose’s transformation was not unique.
“You can almost name a part of your body and alcohol will affect it,” he said.
“Most people start to find they feel much better all round in so many different ways, better energy levels, better relationships, finances improves – life tends to improve generally.”
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