Giving up alcohol for a month to be part of the Dry July fundraiser, doesn’t mean you are admitting to having a problem. On the contrary, it usually proves that you don’t, that you can happily and healthily make a self-directed change that you and your family can benefit from.
It will not only have you feeling physically better, but it can have a positive effect on your mood and your relationship with your partner and your children. Setting a goal for yourself and proudly achieving it shows your kids that you can give up something and still enjoy yourself, while you help others.
It’s much like going technology free
Giving up anything you enjoy that makes you less available, is a terrific way to get back to the kinds of things that really matter in a family such as creativity, connection and conversation. Even one drink can switch many people off in the evening from doing more, from being creative, from playing games, from conversing, from interacting in more fun and pleasurable ways with others. One positive outcome is that you realise there is so much more to do with your time and your energy, and that benefits everyone. When families make changes like giving up alcohol, watching less tv or not engaging in social media in family time, they discover new activities like walking and bike riding, eating together, talking and even making homework projects more fun.
Surely one drink can’t hurt?
There’s nothing wrong with a social drink for most people, but if you have an opportunity to take a break with a positive goal in mind, with support from those around you, it’s a good idea to try it. I always say it’s easy to cook with a glass of wine or a beer in hand, but after that you don’t really always feel like sewing or operating any kind of machinery or making things or painting or playing board games or reading stories. Traditionally one glass of alcohol elevates mood and anything after that can begin to have a negative impact on your central nervous system, acting like a depressant. Continuing to drink can increase feelings of tiredness and crankiness and not only make you feel like you can’t be bothered engaging later in the evening, but can also leave you with less energy the next morning when you have lunches to make and children to get off to school.
You are the strongest influence on your children’s attitudes
Children learn more from what they see than anything else. They will get their cue from you around alcohol and what to “use” it for such as rewards, an excuse for alone time, or a fix for exhaustion. Your behaviours influence theirs. Saying that you are participating in Dry July is also a perfect opportunity to raise your children’s awareness about consumption, behaviour and addiction. There aren’t usually that many openings to talk about these more serious subjects, but because you are taking a break and have a rare chance to focus on yourself and your own habits, it’s a perfect time to share some of your findings and begin to open up some interesting discussions. The secret is to talk in a way that will make your children want to listen, and to listen to your children in a way that makes them want to talk. Being alcohol free has the added benefit of ensuring your responses are calm and your questions are more curious.
What kind of conversations could I be having with my children about alcohol?
It’s important to have conversations with young people about alcohol. You could share your experiences and let them know:
- That it’s a central nervous system depressant that needs to have rules around consumption.
- That it impairs judgement and decision making.
- That it alters your emotions.
- That it can lead anyone to choose risky behaviours that can have negative social consequences.
- That used wisely it’s tasty and social and adds interest to a dining experience.
Be a positive role model to your children and show them that:
- You have a healthy relationship with alcohol.
- You do make responsible choices.
- You can change your ways.
- You can reach for a healthy choice of refreshment.
- You can set goals and stick to them.
- You can socialise sober.
- You don’t have to take a “shortcut” to relax or unwind.
- You can manage all kinds of life skills without drinking.
- You can reward and treat yourself in many inventive ways.
- You can be a fully present parent and enjoy their company.
- You are an approachable, respect-filled, fun parent who sets good strong boundaries for yourself and others.
Mocktails for Dry July
And in case you think that Dry July is boring, here are some mocktails that will prove otherwise!
GRAPEFRUIT & GINGER SODA
Fresh Grapefruit Wedges
Garnish with Rosemary Sprig and Grapefruit Wedge
CARAMEL-CORN, SPICED ESPRESSO MARTINI
Salted Caramel Crème
Garnish with Caramel Pop Corn and a sprinkle of Vanilla & Chilli Salt
100s & 1000s SHAKE
100’s & 1000’s biscuits
Garnish with 100s & 1000s biscuit and extra sprinkles
DRY JULY SIGNATURE “BLACK” SODA
Black Doris Plum
Black (Three) Berry Syrup
Garnish with Gold Bow, Mint, Cinnamon stick, Yellow Flower and Gold Dust.