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This is Why You Try Dry July...

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

✦ Many of us enjoy a drink from time-to-time.


Indeed, casual drinking is very much part of the social fabric that makes up so many societies around the world and has been for generations. It is often an integral part of social functions, be it weddings, birthdays, Christmas, New Year or just general celebrations when family and friends come together to toast something special. Similarly, having a drink often goes hand-in-hand with romantic candle-lit dinners, relaxing holidays or just going down the pub with mates to watch the footie or shoot the breeze!


As such, the very mention of “Dry July’ can drum up a wide range of responses in people, many of which are usually misplaced. The premise of the campaign isn’t one of negativity where the act of alcohol consumption is lambasted and calls for people to stop drinking prevail. It isn’t a campaign designed to shock or scare but instead to raise awareness and drive a greater good.


Like anything, alcohol consumption should be done responsibly and in moderation. Of course there are dangers to alcohol abuse that have been well documented although that is not the point of Dry July - there is no shaming in regards to drinking booze or any demand to give it up completely. It’s merely pledging to support a campaign for a limited period that can help others who truly need it.



How Dry July Started

Dry July started in 2008 when Australian friends Phil Grove, Brett Macdonald and Kenny McGilvary pledged to give up alcohol for a month to raise some money for their local hospital. Since then, the campaign has mushroomed into a far-reaching initiative that serves as a fundraising activity to generate support for people suffering with cancer and has raised over $82 million dollars. Participants can sign up via a variety of channels to abstain from alcohol consumption from July 1-31 and raise sponsorship money from friends, family, co-workers and the general public in the process.


The Dry July Foundation states that thanks to funds raised via the annual campaign it “is able to help local and national cancer support organisations across Australia deliver practical, tangible support services for people affected by cancer. Everything we fund is to benefit cancer patients, their families and carers, aiming to make a difficult time, a little easier for people affected by cancer. A shoulder to lean on. A comforting voice. A place to relax. This is why we Dry July.” Just some of the beneficiaries of the Dry July Foundation’s work include The Cancer Council, Bowel Cancer Australia, the Leukaemia Foundation, the McGrath Foundation, Ovarian Cancer Australia and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Dry July started in 2008 when Australian friends Phil Grove, Brett Macdonald and Kenny McGilvary pledged to give up alcohol for a month to raise some money for their local hospital | Brilliant-Online
Dry July started in 2008 when Australian friends Phil Grove, Brett Macdonald and Kenny McGilvary pledged to give up alcohol for a month to raise some money for their local hospital

A comparable initiative is that of “Movember” when men refrain from shaving their top lip for the entire month of November to curate a delectable range of facial hair designs that would put the likes of Salvador Dali, Charlie Chapman, Merv Hughes and Tom Selleck (aka Magnum P.I.) to shame! As with Dry July, the very point of the campaign is in the pledge itself – take it from someone who has supported Movember many times over the years that the barrage of mockery and derision you receive is plentiful!


But that’s kind of the point, compromising something about you or that you regularly partake in and enjoy for a greater good. In the case of Movember this is image, perhaps even your dignity and self-esteem! In the case of Dry July it is something we enjoy to indulge in as a social past time. Without sounding overly dramatic, it is a kind of sacrifice to help those that need help far more than we do, similar to those that undertake marathon running in the name of fundraising for charity.


As with Movember, Dry July should be a pursuit underlined with fun. While the very cause it supports is absolutely serious, the various fundraising campaigns designed to help shouldn’t be taken too seriously and should be enjoyed. That being said, there are many that do adopt a more serious approach to Dry July, pledging to use their commitment to improve their general health and productivity and to maybe adjust their longer term habits once August 1 rolls along.

Many end up realising that they didn’t actually miss drinking as much as they thought and therefore adapt their lifestyles moving forward to ensure they are achieving the right balance in their daily lives, and there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. Others merely view it as a genuine challenge whereby their abstinence from something that is part of their routine is done so to help a greater cause.


Dry July, pledging to use their commitment to improve their general health and productivity
Dry July participants can improve their general health and productivity

Of course, nowadays there are multiple brands of alcoholic drinks that actually don’t contain any alcohol at all yet taste exactly the same. This is great for those that claim they just “love the taste” of a beer, glass of wine or gin and tonic but don’t want the impact such drinks bring. Indeed, one could indulge in such alcohol-free drinks for the entirety of Dry July and absolutely not be classified as cheating! This similarly rules out those that claim they are only social drinkers, as you can still go down the pub to meet mates without actually having an alcoholic drink – for a month anyway!


So why not give it a go? Challenge yourself and contribute to a good cause in doing so. It’s only a month but the impact on the lives of those suffering could be far more reaching than this.

 

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