If I had a drink for every time someone said to me how hard it would be to give up drinking in this country I'd be well on my way to getting legless.
It's true New Zealand is a booze culture, getting plastered is a national hobby.
Go to a 21st and everyone is getting hammered. The birthday girl or boy will be doing a yard glass and vomiting in the back garden. Everyone is laughing, parents are all packing it away too.
Go to a 30th, 40th, 50th or 60th and it's the same story. Everyone is having a great time drinking lots and lots of alcohol.
Go to a wedding at midnight and everyone is smashed and cutting up the dance floor or huddling around outside smoking and drinking.
Go to a wake and everyone is drinking heavily to drown their sorrows.
Go into any town centre on a Friday night and you'll see young and old wobbling down the streets full to the brim with alcohol. Our hospital A & Es have security guards posted outside to cope with all the drunk people after midnight on the weekends.
Heavy drinking is normal. And I worry especially about the women. There must be loads like me who harbour naughty dysfunctional drinking habits in their homes, now that they have had kids and have largely stepped out of the workforce. Are there?
Just today in the paper there's an article about a woman caught driving who was three times over the legal breath-alcohol limit. She had young children in the car. It's just the latest case in a spate of women from that area being caught drunk at the wheel.
What's the drinking culture like in other countries? I know France is held up as an example of a healthy drinking culture. Wine on the table at dinner even when you're young but over-drinking frowned upon.
Here in New Zealand drinking heavily and handling it is a badge of honour.
Love, Mrs D xxx