Why Dry July
Have you heard of Dry July?
Are you joining?
I certainly am. For the very first time in my life.
But why? Why would you stay sober for a month?
Is staying sober only for alcoholics?
No. It's for crazy people like me, people who like to test themselves to see how life could work differently.
It might not be a big deal to not drink for a month for some of you, and that is wonderful!
For others, like me, it will be pretty new terrain.
I didn't do many social gatherings in my life sober. Staff parties, family parties, get-togethers with friends all contained alcohol.
We drink to get loose, to have fun. How messed up is that? If we can't have fun in a situation without drinking, why would you even be there?
But we all do. I've been in that TV moment at a party thinking I know no one and needing a drink to start being chatty. I've drunk to forget. I've drunk to fit in. I've drunk just because of the habit. I've drunk because I didn't like myself or my life.
Don't get me wrong. I have no physical addiction to drinking. If I don't go out for a week and set myself up to not drink at that time, my body doesn't have a craving.
My mind, however, is craving the habit of drinking, and as soon as the opportunity allows, I drink. Maybe I even create some extra opportunities for a social gathering, although my exhausted body actually could have used a Netflix break and an early night.
You need to recognise your patterns to break them. Do you recognise yourself?
When Simon died, and on many other occasions in my life, I was a problem drinking. In my pregnancy, without any problem, I did not drink. The day I took my pregnancy test, I went to my first party and had fun anyways. I was so happy, and there was no negotiation in my head, about just today...
After Simon died, I drank almost every day. I can't remember if it was every day. It might. Sometimes the goal was just to get drunk. I didn't have the coping skills I have now. In a stressful time over the new year, I found myself regressing to old patterns. The drink to wind down became a daily habit.
Sometimes drinking gets out of control. Drinking too much gets company by other behaviours we don't like. We do things we regret. I smoke when I drink. I also have other tendencies and patterns that alcohol brings out that might amuse you, but they are not the best of me, and I am not feeling in control anymore.
I never want to overdrink, but after a few drinks, it feels like there's no stopping me.
I think I've never written about this, so honest. I don't see myself as an alcoholic, but I see my drinking behaviour as problematic. However, when I pay attention, I see it everywhere.
It does not need to be a problem for you. I'm almost 33. The thought to change the way I drink has passed my mind before. I tried. It's coming and going in waves. Sometimes I drink controlled, thinking about every drink or setting myself a limit. Other times, this plan goes entirely overboard.