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Mar 23, 2022

Getting sober in rural environments presents its own unique challenges. In this episode, Veronica interviews Shanna Whan founder of Sober in the Country a charity that helps people in rural places to stop drinking. Driven by desperation Shanna saw there was simply no support for people in rural Australia so she set about creating her own.

Australian woman Shanna Whan is the pioneer of change in the bush when it comes to our love affair with booze. The founder and CEO behind national bush charity Sober in the Country spent 15,000 hours going against the grain to ''be the change'' and now her advocacy, raw and often irreverently funny conversations have seen the life-saving message that it's ''OK2SAYNO'' (to beers in the bush) go national and international. Shanna was recognised formally in 2021 by her peers and the public as a ProBono Australia winner in the ''Impact 25'' awards.

Shanna Whan is a rural woman and in her own words a ''very unlikely'' national spokesperson for change when it comes to the complex subject of our great love affair with booze in the bush.

The founder behind now nationally recognised brand and not-for-profit Sober in the Country Ltd (SITC) created the 'OK2SAYNO' campaign to ensure we are putting our mates and their health first. Far from being an anti-alcohol message; SITC is simply focused on advocacy, awareness, and ensuring those who choose to say 'no thanks' or 'not today' (no matter their reason) are supported fully.

After almost losing her own life to alcohol addiction in 2015 and spending seven years of working tirelessly to support others she is now regularly referred to as a pioneer who cracked the lid on this yarn in the remote sector of Australia.

Shan is not someone you'll ever find accepting labels like 'influencer,' or 'guru' spoken over her, though. She stands extremely firm on insisting she's just one of (too) many in the bush fighting a battle - sometimes for survival - without help, education, information, or even any appropriate support.

So she said she simply decided to make it her life's work to change that.

These days she is using her national media profile to boldly fight for us on a national level and to challenge our leaders to open their eyes, look west, and to see that for remote Australians, ''ISO'' is our reality.


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