It started with his own lifestyle change. In 2009, the 22-year-old Brisbane local made a pledge to give up alcohol for a year and started a blog chronicling his journey. Today, Hello Sunday Morning has become something far bigger – an online, not-for-profit organisation that aims to challenge drinking culture and the way Australians think about booze.
Following Chris’s lead, more than 10,000 Australians (and another 10,000 worldwide) have signed up to take a three month or 12 month no-drinking challenge and blog about their experience through Hello Sunday Morning. By sharing their story though their blog and social media, each person’s personal challenge becomes part of a larger social movement, making a difference in our society’s collective attitudes towards drinking.
Hello Sunday Morning general manager Jamie Moore says that one person rethinking their relationship with alcohol can have a wide-reaching effect. “Hello Sunday Morning is ultimately about changing a culture, transforming the belief systems we’ve been handed from older generations,” he says. “It’s also about changing yourself and discovering who you are without alcohol. Not forever, but for long enough that you might learn something new.”
We had a chat with Chris Raine about how it all started, the lessons he’s learned, and steps towards building a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.
Tell us how the idea for Hello Sunday Morning came about?
It all started in 2009 when I was 22 and decided to take a year off drinking to see what life was like without the hangovers. The name of the weekly blog I kept was called Hello Sunday Morning – it was a candid reflection of my life as a non-drinker for the year. Since then, it has become something much, much larger – but the essence is the same. It is simply about individuals who want to change the way they drink and, perhaps, change the culture around them.
What were some of the benefits you experienced during (and after) your 12 months off alcohol?
The two biggest things were that:
1. I learned to be more confident in myself, to be able to take social risks without feeling as though I needed to be drunk to do them.
2. It really qualified the people around me – you really get to learn who your best friends are.
Did blogging about it enrich your experience, make it easier, and/or keep you motivated?
As Socrates says, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Writing the blog helped me both be accountable to finishing the year as well as keeping the lessons, and perhaps wisdom, from it.
Describe your perfect Sunday morning?
I really love lazy Sunday mornings. My weeks are so full at the moment, the idea that I can have three or four hours free to just go with the flow is such a refreshing experience. I also spend an hour every Sunday to go over what I learned that week and what I need to do in the next week – I’m the kind of person that needs this structure.
What advice would you give to someone embarking on a 3-12 month no drinking challenge?
Treat it like an experiment. Focus on achieving one or two big goals. Introduce yourself to as many people as you can. Dance.
What does your idea of a healthy, balanced life look like?
Not mine – haha! I’m a pretty extreme person. I tend to throw myself into things and then move onto the next thing. I think it is my nature. I guess for me I try and find balance in the long term perhaps and as much as I can keep to a routine that keeps me mentally and physically healthy. As Flaubert said, “Be regular and orderly in your everyday life so that you may be violent and original in your work”.