Five Ways to Stay on Track After Dry July

Congratulations, you’re nearing the end of a month without alcohol! Maybe you found it easier than anticipated, maybe it brought up some uncomfortable moments for you, maybe you slipped up a few times and indulged in ‘just a few sips’ … or more. It can be hard to make the adjustment back to ‘normal’ once the monthly restriction has lifted and there’s no longer the public declaration of ‘I’m not drinking’ and the socially acceptable excuse of Dry July sobriety to hide behind. But don’t panic! Here at Hello Sunday Morning, we’ve prepared five tips to help you stay on track to assess or change your relationship with alcohol after your little hiatus. 

Congratulate yourself 

Well done, you did it! You stuck to a goal and proved to yourself that you can do whatever you put your mind to. You got to reap the many health benefits to your liver, mental state, waistline and vital organs, from having a break from alcohol. Now it might be tempting to think about ‘rewarding yourself’ … so go ahead we say! But keep in mind that reward doesn’t need to be an alcohol-based one. Buy some new clothes, plan a holiday with your mates, take the kids on a spontaneous day-trip or splurge on a giant box of the finest imported Belgian chocolate truffles money can buy (ok, maybe just me?). 

Make a note of how it felt:

If you can do it for a month, can you do it for longer? 

Assess your relationship with alcohol

Think about the what, why, when and how of your drinking. How much do you normally drink in a week? Three glasses a day is 21 a week, or more than a thousand a year. And the glasses you pour yourself are probably bigger than the ‘standard drinks’ used to measure health effects and long-term harms. Do you drink because it’s fun and enjoyable? Or because of habit and routine? Or because ‘everyone else around you is’? If you’re drinking to manage stress, anxiety or a bad day, some of the tried and tested tips we recommend at HSM include changing your routine, getting out into nature, taking up meditation or yoga, committing to an exercise routine, and finding other ways to process your thoughts – like journaling or therapy. 

Make some new goals

Now you know you can stick to a goal, set another one! These don’t have to be as strict as giving up alcohol. You might want to find a new hobby, do that thing you’ve been putting off  for a year, learn a language or get your Marie Kondo on and clear the clutter. You’ve already proven to yourself that you can follow through on a goal, so run with the momentum and set a new one to challenge yourself.  

Find your community

Was it easier to give up the booze for a month knowing there were thousands of people around the world simultaneously sharing your journey? Being part of a community of people all on the same path is a really effective way to find support and understanding, and makes it more likely you’ll stick to your goal. If your new goal is to join a gym and get fit – find a gym buddy! If it’s to drink less or moderate your drinking, join our Daybreak community right here. Daybreak is a community of people all supporting each other to change their relationship with alcohol, and all from the convenience of the phone that you’re probably holding right now. 

How did you find Dry July? What got you through the tough moments? Do you have any tips for others to stay on track? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

 

I stopped drinking on 28 June, a spontaneous choice. I tried so often before yet always failed. Currently 27 days dry without a problem and absolutely loving it. Socially it is sooo easy as everyone (still) thinks that i am doing dry July, which I am not: I simply didn’t drink in July. That time of not wanting to drink has opened my eyes to the acceptance of alcohol in our society – bad. However, as I am reading more about sobriety, I am learning to untangle myself out of the alcohol grip like many others before me – good. I will stay dry. My health (AND my wealth) are improving daily and I feel very energized, motivated while nothing faces me any longer. Mentally I feel so good and so proud, I feel confident because I have achieved happiness without alcohol. I daily check-in to Daybreak, to chat with my buddies. Cheers.

Hi team, I’ve just started my ‘dry July’ as I want it to be more than a trendy past time but to use it to look at my relationship with alcohol. I’m also reading Mindful Drinking at the same time. My initial aim is for a month off, during which time I can look at my habits and objectively work out what needs to change. I don’t think I’m an alcoholic but on 2-3 evenings a week I will drink a bottle of wine (and sometimes share another). I am rarely the driver as we will stay overnight but I always associate alcohol with social events and I’m not sure that attitude is sustainable. I need to grow some strength and resilience as everyone around me – family and friends – are drinkers!

Thank you for this article. I have succeeded in remaining dry for Dry July. I believe this is the first time I haven’t had alcohol for such an extended period in over thirty years. I found it relatively easy, once I made the commitment. Moving forward, I’m going to restrict my alcohol intake to two drinks only per day, on only two days per week. The support and encouragement provided by your organisation is immeasureable.

I have done dry July to date (a few more days to go) and I have totally changed my thoughts about alcohol. At the start of this month, I also joined Annie Grace’s 30 day experiment and found that invaluable and so has been logging in multiple times per day to the Day Break App. Thanks so much for providing that forum! I am going to continue not to drink. For how long? I am not sure but I hope it’s for good. I am very hopeful and feel much better for not drinking. This has been my longest break in years. I am starting a degree at uni and I need all the brain cells I can muster! I am much more informed about the impacts of alcohol than I was a month ago having spent a number of hours seeking out information. I was thinking today that health funds should provide a discount on premiums for non drinkers – that could incentivise people to quit and slash the amount of public funding required for treating alcohol related illnesses. Thanks for the support!

Dry July was easy. Now comes the hard part drinking on occasion rather than daily. After Dry July or Feb Fast I know my drinking is a habit not an addiction . When I start drinking again my plan is to look at what events on the calendar I will drink rather than plan for 2 days a week AF. August is a big month socially so will be a good time to test the new system .

I gave up drinking on 7 January this year as a gift to myself as I retired. I can honestly say I have never felt better – physically , emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Life is good!!! No life is grand!

I found sleep more peaceful during my Dry July! Being with others drinking was not so difficult but found myself observing others behaviours and the change it makes in them. I have achieved getting more things done! Friday after noons were a challenge if I didn’t have things to occupy the time I’d normally be enjoying a drink!!

Always loved grog, and gin had become my drink of choice. I did Dry July, it got easier as I went along. Had a gin and tonic at midnight on 31 July, didn’t enjoy it and only manged to finish it with difficulty. Then I did ‘dry August’ until last night 21 August when I had a G+T with my partner at home. Again, didn’t really enjoy it or the effect it had on me. What’s going on? I’m 59.

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