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Tomorrow marks the start of Dry July. What the blazes? you ask. Indeed.
Dry July is a sponsored challenge where the participants abstain from imbibing alcohol for one month and the money raised goes to a charitable cause. July is dry, as it were. It’s like prohibition, but only shorter. And not legally mandated for every single citizen.
As far as I can tell, Dry July has two separate yet equally important parts – very much like Law & Order (the original series). One is the charitable element – it is about raising money for the designated charities.
And it is also “about clearing your head and making a difference. Get healthy, challenge yourself, encourage positive change and a healthy attitude to alcohol consumption” (that’s a direct quote from the Dry July website).
What’s fascinating to me about Dry July is how short the challenge is. I would say that, wouldn’t I, having done the mother of all personal challenges (and creating a program for others to do the same) – a year long challenge.
A month is better than nothing, sure. But is it long enough to really make a difference? Is a month-long challenge really just a stunt?
There’s a show on Discovery Channel called Flying Wild Alaska. It’s about a family who run a small-plane airline, flying in and out of small, isolated Alaskan communities, almost always in challenging weather conditions. It’s “white knuckle” kind of work – emotionally, physically and financially. The promo for Flying Wild Alaska shows one of the staff saying direct to camera “Ice Road Truckers are pussies“. I’m sure she’s talking about the small furry domestic pet there. But the premise is interesting, isn’t it? According to her, Ice Road Truckers seem tough — until you see what they do.
I do believe that a month’s abstinence is probably better than doing nothing at all. And I also believe it’s not much of a challenge when you put it into the context of My Year Without Clothes Shopping. There, I’ve said it.
When I share my story and talk about Shop Your Wardrobe in presentations, one of the things I ask is “what would a ‘year without’ challenge be for you?” I ask people not to call out life-affirming or truly indispensable things like their health, their children or breathing. I do ask them to consider activities that, if overdone, can become unhealthy. Alcohol always comes up. Always. Other favourites are fried food, sugar and cheese. I’m waiting for someone to say a year without keeping up with the Kardashians (my rant about my theory of the cognitively degenerative effects of reality television may have to wait for another posting).
Alcohol is a common theme as something that can easily be overconsumed. I get that. I acknowledge that. I recognise the individualness of our journeys, of our levels of awareness, and of our pain thresholds to stick out a tough self-proclaimed challenge. Not all of us want to go Flying Wild Alaska, right?
And I still say that a 30-day challenge just can’t be as tough (or rich, or rewarding) as a 365-day challenge. If you think it can be, tell me in the comments! I’m particularly interested in hearing from people who have done (or are doing) 365-day challenges.
I’m at my word limit here and I can’t sign off without mentioning the three things about Dry July that I like. Here they are.
The charitable stuff is great. Sure it’s a gimmicky method of raising funds (like Movember is). But the direction in which those funds are being chanelled certainly is worthy.
I also like these two things.
Dry July posts a lits of events on their site as a form of distraction. They say that “we don’t want you staying indoors and going into hibernation during your Dry July so here’s a handy event planner to ensure it won’t be a dull July.” That’s neat. And helpful. Especially if alcohol is such a part of your social structure that the thought of doing without it makes it seem like you have entered a social apocalyptic wasteland.
And finally, Dry July encourages participants to prepare for the challenge (that’s such a neat idea, I’m thinking of doing a version of it for Shop Your Wardrobe – what do you think?).
If you are up for a truly life-changing challenge, one you count in months and not days, join us here at Shop Your Wardrobe.
We get to the heart of what trips you up and triggers your unconscious shopping. We’re here to support and inspire you as you journey back to a healthier relationship to shopping, yourself, your wardrobe and your wallet.
You know where to look on the site: the FAQs, what others have experienced as members of the program, what the program is all about and the most generous, gifted and successful-in-their-own-right Faculty I know.
See you next week.