Friday, 13 July 2012

My Oh My is it Dry Dry Dry

Dry July, FebFast, OctSober...there are a number of new charity fundraisers popping up that promote going without alcohol for a month to raise money for some very worthy causes.

While I like to think of myself of a charitable person, I am very close to finishing 4 dry weeks, although without trying to raise money for a charity. For myself, going dry was a decision the boyfriend and I made to save a bit of money. And to be honest, we cheated slightly. We chose a 4 week period where we had no planned social engagements to make it easier to say no to a drink. And then there was the other 'cheat'. We had one night out where we drank alcohol free beer and wine. It had less than 0.5% alcohol and couldn't even legally be called beer, but everyone still made us feel like we were 'cheating'.

So anyway, I thought this would be a good opportunity to reflect on the past 4 weeks and share some of my experiences to help through anyone that may be doing Dry July or planning on just having out a dry night.

What did I experience and learn...

A night out with fish bowl margaritas before the Dry Month
I experienced a lot of peer pressure to drink. It really made me think, because I realised that usually I was the one on the other side encouraging people to drink, you know "you can have one". And it also made me realise that it makes a lot of people uncomfortable to have people around them that aren't drinking. Drinking in social situations, whatever they may be, had really become the social norm. To say no to a drink is unusual and off-putting to others.

I had to explain myself a lot. Not because people were always asking me why I wasn't drinking, but because I felt like I needed to tell people why I wasn't drinking to make myself feel more comfortable. I eventually got over that and I began to feel liberated that I could go out and socialise without needing to spend $8 on a drink....oh yeah, that's another thing.

Drinking is expensive. While I don't feel like I saved a lot of money, I was able to do other things like go to the snow (which is really expensive!). When you think about it, you pay about $8 for a drink, and when you go out on a binge on the weekend, I could easily spend $100. And if you go out 2 nights, that's $200. So that is potentially over $10,000 spent on alcohol a year!

My first time skiing in Australia!

Not waking up with a hangover makes your weekend so much better! Your weekend feels so much longer when you can get up early feeling fresh and make the most of the 2 days you get off after slaving away for 5.

I baked a lot and ate a lot. Instead of going out and drinking calories every weekend, I practiced my baking skills and ate the goods. Home made GF ravioli, almond cake with pear sauce, home made pizza bases with delicious toppings, coconut raspberry smoothies and so much more.

The delicious almond cake with pear on top. Mmmmm....
So what have I taken away from this whole experience? That it is hard to go out and not drink, however it is achievable. It is also much easier to go out and have one drink. So if you are thinking about having a dry month, go on and do it. You will feel healthier, richer, and proud that you were able to do it!

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