Aboriginal Drinking Patterns

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Aboriginal Drinking Introduction I will show in the following essay my interpretation of Aboriginal drinking patterns and argue that Aboriginal drinking is a problem caused by dispossession and alienation. I will also discuss how important it is to consider the social and symbolic role alcohol plays in Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal drinking patterns in Australia can vary from state to state, however what they do have in common is there is no middle ground. Aboriginals either practice total abstinence or when they have access to alcohol they tend to drink themselves into oblivion. These patterns of abuse often differ by location, age and sex. Alcohol abuse is more prevalent in males rather than women and the Northern Territory…show more content…
A common pattern emerged of heavy drinking, violence, family breakdown, imprisonment, child abuse/neglect and lack of community respect. Unfortunately once Aboriginals get a taste for alcohol and experience it’s ability to remove them from their day-to-day troubles, it’s very difficult for them to give it up. There are two patterns to alcohol abuse the first being binge drinking. This is where access to alcohol is limited either by distance, finances or both. In remote communities it isn’t uncommon to have to drive hundreds of kilometres to obtain alcohol. There is also a reliability on the welfare payment, if this payment happens every two weeks then as soon as the payment arrives it will usually be spent entirely on alcohol and then when the money runs out there will be a period of abstinence until the next welfare payment…show more content…
Alcohol was once banned for Aboriginals and only became available with Citizenship in 1964. Aboriginals saw alcohol as a form of freedom and power and as a way of being equal to the “white fella”. Aboriginals sometimes consumed alcohol in an effort to be accepted socially by white people, however it was often the case that they were used as a source of amusement such as feeding them alcohol and then encouraging them to fight each other. This initial sense of powerlessness at the hands of white people changed after Aboriginals were allowed to vote and drink and consuming alcohol in large quantities became their way of being part of society as a whole. In Aboriginal communities drinking is a rite of passage that they don’t appear to grow out of, whereas in the ‘non-indigenous’ population, drinking would tend to moderate out with age, with 40 being a typical age at which moderate drinking would reach stability. The Aboriginal persons life expectancy is late forties so they never reach a stable drinking pattern, it’s just downhill all the way until premature death. The issue is that with high unemployment and little to do, alcohol became their way of passing time and drinking communities were formed with their own set of rules. It allows aborigines a sense of community again and the feeling of being a part of something. Even if that something is destructive it’s better than the hopelessness
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