Australia’s Dry July will be starting soon and it’s a great time for “sober curious” people to dip their toes in the pool. I’ve read some interesting critiques of the Dry July and Ocsober initiatives. It’s been said that paying people pledge money to take a month off alcohol encourages us to glorify drinking and see it as an essential part of adult life. It’s also been said that setting up a month off alcohol as a marathon and offering “gold tickets” to take a night off here and there for emergencies like weddings and office parties, re-enforces the idea that even short term sobriety is near impossible. But I love the Dry July tradition and think that the Australians who came up with it are visionary.
We’ve been told for years that drinking red wine and alcohol in general, can do everything from lower our risk of heart disease to help us control our weight. The recent reports that alcohol actually contributes to the development of 7 types of cancer has done little to hinder the marketing of wine and alcohol as healthy, essential, and fun. Dry July turns the whole shebang on it’s head by making it healthy, essential and FUN to NOT drink for a month while raising money to help people with cancer in the process.
I think Dry July is a brilliant initiative that should be international. It raises a lot of questions about why it’s so hard to take even a temporary break from drinking. In a world full of conflicting messages about how and why we should drink , a world where health-conscious people are encouraged to continue choosing alcohol no matter what the possible health risks, a world with products like spiked sparkling water, vegan wine and red-fruit infused gin, and a world where Mommy’s Time Out wine is drunk at Wine O’clock, there is a drink for every occasion and every occasion requires a drink. In that world, where there is tremendous pressure to drink daily and see that as normal, Dry July gives us another focus for thirty days. How to enjoy life WITHOUT the booze.
I stopped drinking permanently a bit over four years ago because my drinking was setting a terrible example for my kids. They saw me drinking almost every night and often way too much. Although I handled my responsibilities, as most moms who follow the wine-o-clock routine do, I realized that my children almost always saw me with a wine glass in hand at the end of the day. A lot of Australians will model a different version of grown-up down-time this month while continuing to add to the almost 30 million Australian dollars raised for cancer patients care through Dry July. That is the beginning of something beautiful indeed.
And that is why I love Dry July.
If you’re “sober curious” or trying Dry July …
If you are drinking too much too often and want to take a break…
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