John drank at least a slab of beer a day. One day he rocked up at the YSAS Latrobe Valley offices with a slab of full-strength beer as a gift for a worker, Debra Williams.
“I can’t take the slab John,” she said. “But if you want to sit down at the end of the building and pour the beer into the stormwater drain, I will support you to do that.”
“I’m not wasting all that money!” said John. “I’ll give it to me mate.” Debra was skeptical. “Are you really going to give it to your mate, or are you going to drink it?”
That got John thinking. He sat out the front of the offices for a while, mulling over what to do. To drink or not to drink? That was the dilemma of the slab.
When Debra looked out the front about forty-five minutes later, John was gone. Well, that’s it, she thought. He’s left to drink it. Then she walked down a nearby laneway and there was John, opening up cans of beer from his precious slab and pouring them down the drain.
But not all of them. After he’d disposed of 12 beers he looked up at Debra and said, “That’s enough. I’m taking the rest. And I’m going to drink them.”
Then, sounding slightly proud, he added, “But I did half a slab? That wasn’t too bad was it?”
Debra congratulated John, then said, “So maybe next time, don’t buy the whole slab?” “Right, that’s what we have to do Debra,” said John. “We have to not buy the whole slab.”
Debra’s suggestion planted a seed, and over the four years she worked with John he managed to cut down his alcohol intake to a six pack of mid-strength beer a week. “For him to go from having a slab of beer, two bottles of 750ml spirits and amphetamines every single day, to a six pack of middies a week is a phenomenal journey for a young person, for anyone,” says Debra.