Are you thinking about doing Dry July this year? If so, let me give you some encouragement!
Two years ago, there is no way I would have (or could have) done something like Dry July. I was the statistic – 40 plus year old professional women, relieving the stress of a hard day’s work over a glass of wine or two or sometimes three - every single day. I often thought I should take a break but figured I wasn’t a binge drinker, I knew when to stop, I had control over my life and lets face it, I worked hard and I deserved it.
So, you can imagine my surprise when I decided to take the odd night off drinking and found that I couldn’t. It started with a fully committed declaration at 3:00am (my usual nightime haunt when I would lie awake willing myself back to sleep), to a half-committed promise as I got up in the morning to a definite “no way, not tonight” by the time I got home and started to prepare dinner. After a couple of weeks of this pattern I started to realise a few things. Firstly, I started notice that I would manufacture some stress to justify my continual drinking. I could work up the most benign event into either an award-winning tragedy or a cause for great celebration and therefore a good reason to have a drink that night, despite the promise I'd made to myself not to. I could pick an argument, achieve a goal, cook a dinner that tasted better with a glass of wine - whatever was needed to avoid an alcohol-free evening.
Secondly, I noticed how fearful I would become at the thought of not drinking. If I wasn’t going to drink, then what was I going to do? Or perhaps more profoundly if I wasn’t a drinker then who was I? Was I boring? Would I have anything to say without a wine in my hand? Would I still like the same things, the same people, the same topics of conversation? Could I still call up my people and be funny and witty? Could I still go out for dinner and have something to say? Or would I become a recluse? Would my introversion finally get the better of me and would I live the rest of my life couped up at home with my cat?
But when I moved past the fear and asked who could I become if I chose not to drink then I liked what I came up with. Someone who lives a life that is congruent with her values of good health and low waste. Someone who is a role model to her kids. Someone who has the energy and clarity to run her businesses with a clear focus and vision. Someone who didn’t have to worry about what she’d said the next morning after consuming one too many drinks at dinner with friends the night before. And someone who can hang out with little ones at family events without their parents watching to make sure she didn’t say anything inappropriate or have the tell-tale swagger while holding the baby.
So, then I did all the things. I found the books and chat rooms. I listened to the podcasts and I started to imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t have this cloud hanging over my head - the ONE thing (or so it seemed at the time) that didn’t match up to how I saw myself. I began to believe that I needed more energy, more health and and more focus to run my business and achieve the success I was looking for. And so, on the 1st of September 2018, I didn’t have a drink. It was the day when I didn’t need to internally wrestle, justify, or worry about who I was. It was the day my head and my heart landed in the same place. I didn’t pick this day it picked me. Suddenly this habit which had taken over my life and my consciousness was no more. It was a relief, a weight off and a real sense of achievement. If your planning on trying out Dry July and want to use this opportunity to review how your current drinking habit aligns to your values, then download my guide and follow the steps I took to finally take control. For me it was abstinence for you it might be moderation. I've included some tips for you either way. The important thing is for YOU to decide how it will be – not the habit, not the wine and definitely not the fear. You've got this!