Cliff Collins gave up drinking alcohol in 1963, after making a New Year's resolution on a walk home from the pub.
Cliff Collins gave up drinking alcohol in 1963, after making a New Year's resolution on a walk home from the pub. Alexia Austin

Roma man keeps resolution for over fifty years

A new year holds for many a fresh start, with January a popular month to make resolutions for the future.

For those looking to turn a new leaf, Roma's Clifford Collins sets the perfect example, having held his New Year's resolution for 55 years.

On a walk home from the pub on the early hours of New Year's day, 1963, Mr Collins said he resolved to give up drinking alcohol, and has never looked back.

"I started drinking grog when I was about 16. I feel that I was considered a late starter, a lot of my generation were well into it when I started,” Mr Collins said.

"I got drunk a few times in good company, I guess there wasn't much to distinguish me from anybody else who liked a drop of grog.

"I used to drink a bit of rum, whisky, brandy, and I liked my beer. I reckoned at one stage of my life that I would never give up beer, because, hey, I liked it.

"However, on New Year's day 1963, I was walking with a friend home from the pub and we started to discuss our new year's resolutions.

"It was then that I declared, "Hey mate, I'm giving up the grog.”

"My mate said "Yeah, I've heard that one before and from men better than us.” I told him I would go cold turkey and he just laughed as we went to our respective houses.

"That was to be my final night on the grog.”

Mr Collins said the decision was difficult at times, but had ultimately changed his life for the better.

"Sometimes it was tough, and there were many people in my life who assisted me to get where I am today,” Mr Collins said.

"All my old mates waited for me to break. It was all in good fun to bait me and offer me grog, and some tried to spike my soft drinks. Then some of my old drinking friends became critical of me.

"I feel I gave [alcohol] away because it was hard enough to live and provide for my family. During my early working life, I had the privilege of working with old bushmen, men who were masters at their trade. Funny thing though, not many accumulated any great amount of material wealth. I owe a lot to those bushmen who gave me a good grounding for my future life.”

For those pondering their resolutions and for those who have made them, Mr Collins has some sage advice.

"Don't be afraid to break away from the crowd and be your own person, the gain will exceed the pain.

"I tell people that I didn't do many smart things in my life but giving up the grog was the smartest things I ever did. This single act affected me for the better in my life.”

Mr Collins said that it was never too late to make a change, adding that his 2018 resolution is to 'continue taking care of his wife,' who he described as his rock.