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Have you ever wondered why it’s easier to stay sober during Dry July or Sober October yet seem to struggle outside of these months? Here’s why.

Dry July has been socially accepted by the Australian Drinking Culture and due to this acceptance, individuals feel safer or even supported to embark on a month without alcohol.

Which, in itself, is fantastic.

In saying that, many people are left scratching their heads wondering why they stick to their alcohol reduction commitments when they are supporting a charity, or a cause yet struggle to hold themselves accountable outside of these events.

With a high chance of sounding judgemental, here’s something critical to be aware of if you are on an alcohol reduction journey.

When it comes to these large, socially acceptable events like Dry July or Sober October, often, rather than increasing your character and your own ability to stand out from the crowd, back yourself, and challenge the status quo, you are playing to the benchmark or expectations of the tribe.

Again, which is incredible. Incredible that we are beginning to create events and opportunities for individuals to drink less.

But, and it’s a big but – If you can only drink less during these events/opportunities and want to know how to drink less all-year round, here’s how you can.

There are just a few important things to know.

These things to know are simple yet profound insights into human behaviour, individuals, and how tribes work.

Ok, here goes….

If the Australian drinking culture says it’s ok to take a break from the booze (Dry July, for example), then we also say it’s ok. To ourselves.

Which kind of means – Rather than giving ourselves permission to drink less & feel fresh, we are kind of reliant on what the tribe wants from us or say is ok. If they say it’s ok, then it must be ok.

Which is important.

As it’s how individuals survive.

We survive in tribes. Working together. Laughing, playing, and handling life’s challenges – together!

But what happens when our individual choices, desires, and dreams are no longer aligned with a tribe we once were so tied in with?

What happens when we desire to reduce our alcohol intake within a tribe that influences heavy & habitual drinking?

And what happens when we want these things outside of Dry July or Sober October?

Well, often, we are left scratching our heads wondering if… there is something wrong with us.

It’s interesting, isn’t it?

How often, instead of pointing the finger and challenging the tribe, we are quick to judge & challenge ourselves.

Feeling guilt, shame, or even disappointment in ourselves for not knowing how to say NO to a glass of wine, a fresh cold beer, or that celebration shot at a wedding.

Rather than challenging the tribe’s drinking standards and questioning whether those drinking standards are good enough for us, we challenge ourselves and wonder if we are good enough for them.

Leaving us feeling like we have a huge problem around the ability to stick to our commitments, complete the promises we make to ourselves, and ultimately whether we can trust ourselves next Friday night or not.

Crazy, isn’t it?

The power a tribe can have over an individual that no longer wants what the tribe wants.

So, whilst we have come a long way within the Australian Drinking Culture, we certainly have a long way to go, and it starts with the tribe as much as it starts with the individual.

Next time you are within the tribe, and someone isn’t drinking, try one of these on.

“Good on you for drinking less. Fantastic”

or

“Did you say you are driving tonight? Geeze you’ll feel fresh tomorrow”

or

“Yeah, of course, a large glass of soda water coming your way”

or

Maybe, just maybe, you’ll remind yourself that sometimes your drinking standards in life do not need to become the standards for someone else who is choosing not to drink.

You are allowed to love your alcohol intake and not presume others should too. The same applies to both sides of the table.

You are allowed to drink less alcohol and not judge someone for drinking.

Whether you are not drinking or are drinking a lot, learn to champion someone on for their own behaviour as much as you need to back yourself and your own choices.

Breaking free from the tribe is a by-product of respecting your own choices as much as you respect there’s.

Here’s to Drinking Less & Feeling Fresh,

Tom

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