Dry July

The reopening of pubs and bars means this may be the hardest Dry July yet. (Image source: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

By Chelsea Shepherd | @Chelsea15183902

For the more than 37,000 Aussies participating in dry July, there are only seven days left in their month of sobriety.

With pubs and clubs around Australia opening their doors for the first time since March, it may just be the hardest dry July yet for those trying to avoid temptation.

Dry July is a charitable movement that encourages Australians to go sober to raise money for cancer research.

Funds from the Dry July foundation support organisations such as the Cancer Council, the Leukemia Foundation, the McGrath Foundation and the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia.

Not only is dry July a fantastic way to raise funds for cancer research, but there are also amazing health benefits for participants.

A better headspace, healthier skin, more sleep, weight loss and a sense of achievement are all personal benefits one can expect during and after a dry July.

Incredibly, participants and the public have collectively raised more than 7 million dollars this year.

One of those participants is 23-year-old Lisa Wright, who has raised more than $500 for the cause.

“My goal was originally $250, and then that was raised quickly, so I upped it to $500,” Ms Wright said.

“So I feel proud to have raised that.”

Her inspiration for participating in dry July came from multiple family members who suffered from cancer.

“I thought it was a good opportunity to raise money for cancer,” she said.

“I have a lot of people in my life who have been affected by cancer, and I saw it as a good way to save money and be healthy at the same time.”

So how has the reopening of clubs and pubs affected Lisa’s alcohol-free journey?

“It definitely makes it more tempting to drink,” she said.

“When nothing’s open, it’s easy not to drink, but the social aspect definitely makes it harder.

“I think it would be nice to have a drink after not being able to go out and party for so long.

“Generally, I’m not a big weekday drinker, so it’s more of an issue when there’s a birthday or an event that I’m sober for – if I’m not drinking at an event, I feel as if I’d rather be at home.”

“[But] I’m still staying social and using this time as an opportunity to be a designated driver.”

Another dry July participant, 56-year-old Stacy Sandford, says she has been sleeping better than usual since going sober.

“I’ve been waking up in a great frame of mind and feel so proud of what I have achieved,” Ms Sandford said.

“I don’t think I’ve been as social, but I have caught up with a friend that is doing dry-ish July (not drinking on weekdays).

“My stepdaughter is also doing dry July, so it’s been nice to check in with her and support each other.”

For many participants, the thought of not drinking over a long period of time can be daunting; however, there are plenty of tips and replacement drinks to make the journey easier.

“I’ve taken this opportunity to drink more water than I already do, which has been great for my body,” Ms Sandford said.

“However, when I feel like a wine, I drink non-alcoholic wine, which you can buy at most supermarkets.

“Keeping busy is another great way to distract yourself from feeling like a drink, or even drinking soda water to make whatever you are drinking more exciting than water.”

St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne is one of the many recipients of dry July fundraising.

More than 57,000 patients are treated at St Vincent’s world-class Cancer Centre each year. The Cancer Centre Chemotherapy Day Unit provides specialised treatment for up to 28 patients a day, both from the metropolitan and rural areas of Victoria.

This is just one organisation that has benefited greatly from dry July fundraising.

There are plenty more stories of hope and support that come from the generous work of dry July participants and their fundraising.

For Lisa Wright, it was this combination of personal and community improvement that made dry July such an exciting opportunity.

“There were so many health and financial benefits that came with raising money for a great cause, so it was an easy decision to take part,” Ms Wright said.

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