I heard of Dry July and Ocsober for the first time four years ago on an Australian website called Hello Sunday Morning. While desperately googling, and thinking, How do I Stop Drinking? Am I an Alcoholic? I stumbled over HSM and began blogging my way dry among others on three-month or twelve-month alcohol-free challenges.
I didn’t fit the profile of the chronically relapsing, rock bottom drinker that is often unfairly associated with Alcoholics Anonymous, but I knew I needed to stop drinking and didn’t seem to be able to do it alone. So I joined the international crowd on HSM, men and women from around the world talking not so much about sobriety, but about taking a break from the booze. And I began writing my way out of the wash, rinse, repeat cycle of drink, drunk and regret.
My incentive to stop drinking was my kids. I did not want to stop drinking. But I knew that I needed to for them.
In the end, almost 5 years later, I can tell you that sobriety is absolutely the BEST gift I’ve ever given MYSELF.
Most parents like me hope to set a good example of balance for their kids. A full life usually includes drinks with dinner, girls’ night out and cocktails in the sun; and we hope that our children will grow up able to enjoy alcohol without ever slipping too far into risky drinking. We want our children to feel comfortable in any situation as adults.
But what if our children find when they grow up that they are one of those people who cannot drink safely?
In Australia and New Zealand the month of July gives parents an opportunity to model the alternative of sobriety. By accepting pledges in a month long marathon of sobriety Aussies and Kiwis have raised over $28 million AUD in the past 10 years to help families affected by cancer. Passing over the fine wines, craft beers, flavored vodkas and boutique gins and choosing alcohol free at every event for 31 full days can be a daunting task. But it can influence how a child sees the normality of routine drinking.
Now October has become Ocsober down under and in the UK as well.
As it’s hard to stay sober in this world where socializing at events usually includes alcohol so the community on HSM put together a list of 55 reasons to stay sober for a member who asked for inspiration. The 11-year-old daughter of another member, who had never seen the list, hit each point perfectly in this poem she found online for her mom to celebrate her first 30 days alcohol-free.
I think Ocsober and Dry July are brilliant initiatives that should be international. They raise a lot of questions about why it’s so hard to take even a temporary break from drinking. In a world where health-conscious people can choose spiked sparkling water over beer and sake replaces green tea after yoga ; where women can hide up to three bottles of wine in their fashion accessories, and Mommy’s Time Out wine is drunk at Wine O’clock.
There is a drink for every occasion and every occasion requires a drink. There’s tremendous pressure to drink daily and see that as normal…
The thought of facing a dry future in this wet world left me cold to say the least.
I found it took, and still a takes, a strong sense of self and a bit of a rebellious character to consistently turn down the beautifully marketed drinks that are everywhere.
A lifetime of sobriety is not for everyone.
There are many people who can control and moderate their drinking in ways that I eventually found I couldn’t. But if you take a minute to think about the role alcohol plays in your life, maybe a month-long break is a good idea to start resetting your routine. There is no reason that we should ever feel we need to drink. The empowering example that we can set for our children of going against the grain for something worthwhile is priceless.
If you’d like to try an alcohol-free stint come talk to us.
We’ll help you stay inspired to go AF long enough to show your kids how empowering following your own path can be.
We are a Private, Anonymous, Community Forum open and free to anyone hoping to take a break from drinking. Alcohol is the only drug that people question you for NOT using but you don’t HAVE to drink. Don’t stay trapped because the stigma of not drinking seems worse than the cost of drinking to much.
Sobriety is Clarity, Creativity, Freedom! Community connection is the first step.
ReThink the Drink
Here is an invitation for you
Join us for Ocsober
If you’re “sober curious” open your mind to the possibility of living life more fully alcohol-free. There are thoughts on the Grey Area between alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence in this Ted Talk With Jolene Parks and thoughts from our community blog on alternatives to AA and traditional recovery.
If you are drinking too much too often and want to take a break or stop altogether Talk to Us.
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