Last year I took part in Dry July. I felt I’d been drinking too much and wanted both a break and a chance to explore how reliant I was on alcohol. I found it was (contrarily) easy and hard – it was surprisingly non-problematic to break the habit of having a glass of wine with dinner during the week but really very difficult to stop celebrating each and every weekend day with wine. Overall I enjoyed the (sober) experience and found it beneficial, so when I saw the ads for FebFast I knew I wanted to sign up straightaway.
My reasons for doing this are threefold.
1. One-glass creep: I have absolutely no problem with regular responsible drinking. Some meals are just nicer with a glass of wine. Sitting in the sun on a sunny afternoon drinking a glass of bubbles or rose is divine and, well, wine just tastes really nice and I like the way it makes me feel. But, like any drug, it doesn’t take long to get used to the feelings it invokes and then you need more to make you feel the same way … so you have one-and-a-bit glasses of wine. It seems silly to pour half a glass of wine so it becomes two glasses of wine and then, since there’s just a little bit left in the bottle, you divvy up the remainder and without even thinking about it you’ve split a bottle of wine with your dinner companion. Taking a month off wine provides the opportunity to recalibrate my ‘one-glass-ometer’.
2. Waistline creep: One of the best pieces of weight maintenance advice I ever received was to not
drink my calories. Soft drink and fruit juice has a lot of calories and none or very little nutrition and I’d much rather eat a nice bit of cheese and bread than have a sweetened beverage (the exception being when I’m hungover and only full-strength Coke will do but that’s fine because we all know there’s no calories when you’re hungover or on a birthday). Wine may have antioxidant and social benefits but it also contains a lot of calories, with a glass of cab sav coming in at 125 calories plus and, let’s be honest, how many of us actually have the recommended 150ml of wine anyway – wine glasses are huge! 125 calories is equivalent to almost two glasses of Coke or half a Mars Bar and I would never ingest either of those on a near-daily basis. Taking a break from wine will be good for my waistline and my ability to do up my jeans.
3. Basic obnoxiousness: Before Christmas I attended a few events where I decided to drive. I either didn’t feel like drinking or I felt I’d had too many calories recently or I just simply didn’t want to pay for a cab. I got such a hard time it honestly made me want to punch someone. I know we love a drink in this country but it’s freaking ridiculous what a big deal we make when someone decides not to drink and it’s stupid. I see my friends and family sober all the time and they seem to like my company enough then to continue to want to see me, so why act like the sky is falling in just because I’ve chosen to be the designated driver? The worst thing is I know I’ve done the same thing to others when they’ve decided to not drink (“Go on – you can stay here.” “If you get a cab I’ll come and get you tomorrow so you can pick up your car.” “Come on - I bought a really nice bottle of bubbles”). Drinking is so ingrained in Australian life that when adult members of society who we let make all sorts of other big life decisions without discussion decide not to have any alcohol we basically harass them until they do – it’s terrible and it really should stop.
I haven’t signed up for the official FebFast group because unlike Dry July it seems very fundraising focused and I don’t want to do it for money this time. I will be drinking on two days (a hen’s and a wedding) but other than that, for me this month is alcohol free and I (fingers crossed behind my back) just can’t wait ☺