Updated: May 22
In a few days the next Dry July challenge will be kicking off. This amazing charity is all about raising awareness and funds for cancer - and it's a terrific idea if you're a **'normie' when it comes to grog (in other words, you can safely enjoy a few without ending up in strife.)
Truth is - too many of us aren't normies when it comes to grog. And we still aren't talking about this in a fair dinkum way, so I will. Because July can be a deadly time for some.
Seriously - you need to think about this: if you're considering doing the challenge (any kind of challenge) but you're worried (deep down) about your alcohol use, then can I lovingly suggest that you listen to that still, small voice...
Allow me to throw myself under the bus to explain:
I, myself, took part in numerous Dry July's during my illustrious drinking days. Because like anyone I love raising funds for a good cause and challenging myself. But for me, here's what happened: I would quite easily plow through a month off the booze, and then - well, it was carnage. Absolute carnage.
See - I'd force myself to get through those 31 days and then I'd smugly declare to all and sundry who were concerned about me that I'd just nailed Dry July and therefore couldn't possibly be an alcoholic thank you very much ... and then - I'd proceed to get as hammered as humanly possible for the next week just to make up for lost time.
Those binges put me in hospital twice.
Back in the day I honest-to-God thought that alcoholics were those (other) unfortunate people on the street who started their days by sipping out of a brown paper bag and then drank all day, or at least every day. That wasn't me. So I figured I was in the clear.
Turns out I wasn't. Turns out going 'dry' for a month was a deadly idea for me. Turns out I was just a garden variety alcoholic a few steps away from utter destruction and has simply fooled myself that because I had good hair and a mortgage and a job all was well in the world.
All was not well. I was a classic case of an undiagnosed / untreated alcoholic - slipping through the cracks and being dismissed my doctors and casual acquaintances as being in need of urgent attention. Because my day-time game face was strong. And because I was a liar who did whatever I could to protect the thinly veiled image of a life not falling apart.
My point is : if you ''think'' you have a serious problem with booze - please take a moment to think some more, and please - don't look to a one month challenge as your answer - because you're going to need something far more serious to help you fight this deadly, progressive disease that lives in our society and pretends to be an 'Australian'.
Make a donation to the Dry July charity - heck yeah - go for it if that's your heart's genuine desire (to raise funds for cancer) ... but leave 30 day challenges to those who aren't fighting something sinister, and get yourself some help.
This is a helpful 'is my drinking a problem' questionnaire from AA that might give you a nudge:
Some facts on alcohol and cancer are here, too: https://www.cancer.org.au/policy-and-advocacy/position-statements/alcohol-and-cancer/
Stay safe lovely ones - and remember - you are NOT ALONE if your drinking is a problem.
Turns out that you're in good company.
As always - these messages are delivered with nothing but love. Never judgement. Just a heartfelt desire to share the truth in the hope it might strike a chord with someone else out there falling through the cracks.
For those taking part in 2020 > the links to Dry July are here.
Much love -
CEO / Founder, Sober in the Country Ltd
** Disclaimer 1 : I refer in this article to those who can drink safely or in moderation as ''normies'' merely for illustrative purposes. Because society is pretty cruel about viewing those of us who battle as 'not normal' ... when in fact ... I personally reckon struggling with booze is more normal than it isn't. But that's a whole other blog for a whole other day!! None of us are more normal than anyone else - this is purely for illustrative purposes, to be clear.
** Disclaimer II : we also fully acknowledge that for some people, challenges like this can be an amazing (if sometimes unexpected) springboard to a journey to health and even sobriety and huge positive change - and that's AWESOME. We are clearly talking about a specific situation here, but we really need to acknowledge this because this isn't intended as discouragement of any kind for those who aren't in a dangerous place.