To anyone who has taken the pledge to be involved in Dry July I give a big high five to you!
I am behind you and this cause 100%. For anyone who isn’t familiar with Dry July, It’s a month of being completely sober for a good cause (2 including your own health benefits from taking a month off the booze).
There are 2 main reasons why I back Dry July:
1) It helps raise money for adult cancer patients and their families
2) Personal reasons
Alcohol and I haven’t had a good history. I have never enjoyed drinking but I gave into peer pressure as I had a group of girlfriends that always went out and drank hard, I had a very social job that included a lot of nights out and a voice in my head telling me that if I didn’t drink like everyone else I’d be the girl that everyone thought was boring and I’d be talked about behind closed doors.
Every time I drank I’d regret it; so many terrible decisions I’ve made through being intoxicated and most were just dam straight stupid dangerous.
A couple of years ago I jumped at the idea of doing Dry July. “The best excuse ever for not drinking for a whole month!”. I thought everyone would comment on how thoughtful and inspiring my decision was to commit to Dry July and I also hoped others would follow.
Friends and colleagues certainly comment on my decision about being sober for a month but it wasn’t the response I expected. It was all negative comments about how boring I was being and that if I decided to go out and not drink I’d be embarrassing myself. My friends would say “Who comes out and just drinks water or soda, what are you, 12?”.
This is the part where I would love to tell you I was a hero and that I stood up for myself but instead I stood with a bunch of intoxicated people with a vino in my hand.
When it got to the point where I was so unhappy with myself and also because of the effects that drinking has on my mood, I realised I had hit rock bottom and I was destroying myself by trying to be someone who I wasn’t. I didn’t want to be known as the party girl anymore, I didn’t want any regrets or hangovers I just wanted to be my own authentic self.
I had to get completely honest with myself and the situation I was in by writing out the solutions to the problems.
Peer Pressure: If anyone puts pressure on you to drink or doesn’t respect your decision, they aren’t true friends and your better off finding new friends that support you.
Most of the time when people pressure you into something such as drinking, they do it because they are insecure about their own drinking habits. You do not have to be a part of someone else’s insecurities.
Night Life: Just because you don’t drink alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t go out and have a great time or feel like an outcast for not drinking. You would be surprised by how many people go out and choose not to drink. (Hint, they’re usually the fresher faced people that aren’t slobbering over the DJ for him to play a 90’s hit). These days a lot of bars have mocktails on their menus and if they don’t, most places are more than happy to whip you up an alcohol free cocktail.
Excuses: You should never feel like you have to give an excuse as to why you aren’t drinking.
Respect your decision and be proud that you are taking control of your health and wellbeing.
When you tell people that you don’t drink with a confident tone and body language people don’t question your decision. If you aren’t confident or make up an excuse on the spot they see that as an opportunity to pressure you into having just one drink (which usually means one bottle).
Strength: When you feel like giving in remind yourself of all the reasons why you gave up alcohol in the first place. Think about how drinking makes you feel at the time and also the next day.
The internet is a great way to start building a network of people that are feeling the same way you are and to reassure you that you are not alone.
I haven’t had a drink for nearly one year now it was the most rewarding decision I have made.
By giving alcohol up I have gained so much more in return.
I have met more friends that follow the same interests as me, I have gained more self confidence, my health and wellbeing has improved significantly, I have saved money by not having expensive nights out and having weekends to enjoy outside rather than in bed nursing a hangover.
Being the 1st of July gives you the opportunity to take on the challenge of going alcohol free for a month.
You don’t need to sign up to Dry July, you can just make the decision to do this for your own health and wellbeing.
Question: What has been the longest period of time that you have given up alcohol for?