Cheers to Dry July

Cheers to Dry July

These days there are a stack of month-based opportunities for fundraising, self-improvement and self-torture.

There’s Movember (grow a moustache to raises funds and awareness for men’s health), Buy Nothing New month (in October) and the slightly inane Choctober to name a few.

And, of course, Dry July.

Not to be confused with Febfast (the same thing but only for the 28 days of February) or Sober October.

Dry July sells itself with the tag line ‘Clear your head, make a difference’ and the funds raised go towards improving the lives of adults living with cancer.

(To me it would it make more sense if the funds when to something that helped people and families with drug or alcohol addiction, such as The Mirabel Foundation or Transformations.)

You can check out my Dry July profile page and sponsor me if you like, but don’t worry if don’t want to.

Rather selfishly, I’m setting myself this challenge purely for my own wellbeing.

learn-copywriting-coursesI don’t like to think of myself as a big drinker. But then, who does?

In my 20s I drank a lot. I also did a lot of silly things and got myself in some very tricky, stupid and horrible situations because of alcohol.

That’s said I had some amazing, uninhibited, ridiculous, fun times.
So I think the good and the bad kind of evened out (although if you ask my liver, she might not agree).

But two things changed my drinking habits.

First, I hit 30. Suddenly hangovers started to feel like a slow and painful death, so binge drinking was out.

Second, I became a mum. And now I have to deal with a whole new level of responsibility.

These days I rarely have more than two glasses of wine in one sitting. I no longer get so drunk that I cry, lose my keys or snog random strangers. At my worst I drink probably every other night. (At my true worst I drink a few glasses of vino every evening.)
Many of my friends drink more and many tell me not to sweat it. But to me it feels like too much.

I’m no alcoholism expert. But I reckon when you stop ‘wanting’ a drink and move to ‘needing’ a drink you have somewhat of a problem.

The media often portrays alcoholics as sorry figures swigging gin from a bottle at eight in the morning, shuffling out of a bottle shop with a brown bagged bottle of the hard stuff, or vomiting up meths in a park.

But in reality there are lots of highly-functioning alcoholic people. And I think a lot of mums could fall into that category.

Let’s be honest: being a mum is bloody hard.

While we can focus on the cuddles, the laughs and the cool stuff, a lot of motherhood is boring as bat shit. It’s a relentless groundhog day of duties and responsibilities with little or no spontaneity, very little time for yourself and a huge sprinkle of guilt on every tiny pleasure you try to enjoy.

So on some days (okay, most days) I look forward to my glass of red after my son goes to bed. Or maybe even around six to make the final trial of bath, bed and stories a little easier. When I’m having a particularly bad day, I don’t just look forward to it. I count the hours.

Bad, right?

At the moment I feel fine. My two glasses just make me slightly woozy at night (I go to bed at nine so it’s not exactly party time), and I’m slightly more grumpy in the morning.

But I suppose I fear the slippery slope.

It starts with hangovers. Then it moves to missed appointments, being late for work, being too buggered to do any activities with your kids, forgetting to pick them up, not making your kids lunches, doing laundry or reading stories. You get the idea.

And according to this article (and many others) the kids of parents who drink a lot end up drinking a lot themselves. (Mind you, parents probably had a gin and tonic a fortnight when I was a kid, so who knows?

At the risk of sounding melodramatic or getting too heavy, I think I may need Dry July.

I signed up last year and managed a week. But about three months ago I voluntarily gave up the grog for six weeks, just for the heck of it. So perhaps my chances of success are good this time.

Giving up anything is hard, especially when you associate it with the good times you used to have before you became a grown up, mother and mortgage payer.

So I expect to have some struggles and soul searching along the way.
Don’t worry, I won’t keep you posted.

Wish me luck!

Over to you

How do you feel about dry July? Can you go without alcohol for a whole month?

Want to have a chat?

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This article first appeared in Discordia.



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