What A Dry Month Could Do For Your Longevity Prospects
Men's Health Australia|April 2020
As alcohol loses its health halo, more people are re-evaluating their relationship with it
Amos Barshad

The first time I remember hearing about the concept of not drinking in July, I was with my basketball mates after a pick-up game in an area of my home city known for its night-life. This was a winter evening more than a decade ago, over a table of chicken sandwiches. One guy, who worked in commodities, was explaining to a group of us how, after the excesses he tends to fall prey to during the colder months, he liked to take a month off drinking. To detox. To refresh. To healthify. It felt like a strange secret from a better, more progressive place – particularly coming out in this post-game huddle. That night, the sweaty dude was just full of rarefied wisdom. And I was curious.

Nowadays, the concept of a sober July doesn’t feel so exotic. In fact, as known by its poplexicon title, “Dry July”, it’s practically a brand. According to the Dry July Foundation, in 2019 more than 43,000 people signed up to go grog-free. And, chances are, double or even triple that number would have sworn off the drink unofficially.

I have what I consider to be a pretty good relationship with drinking. Plainly, I’m a fan. I wasn’t a young drinking prodigy. It was when I moved to a big city, at 21, that I fell in love with bars and the things that can happen in them. I met some of my best friends that year. I also puked more that year, quite possibly, than in the rest of my life combined. Over time, I’ve calibrated my intake choices and minorly dabbled in drugs, from gateway to stronger stuff. It’s all brought me back to the same initial conclusion: in drinking, I have all the vice I ever need.

And yet I’ve been swept up, too: I’ve attempted Dry July three years running. Meanwhile, beyond episodic fads, sobriety has morphed into a lifestyle, the sober curious, a term popularised by the author/podcaster Ruby Warrington via her 2018 book of the same name. These people don’t just do Dry July – they hang out at sober bars, download sobriety podcasts and apps, and consume content from self-branded sober gurus.

“I feel like alcohol is the new cigarettes,” says Warrington. “Smoking was completely socially acceptable 30 years ago. Fast forward a couple of decades and people will drink and use alcohol much differently.”

As Dry July has boomed and cross-pollinated into sober curious, it’s also become divisive. If you have partaken, you know. Some people get it. But turn down a drink during the month of July and someone will declare, as if they’ve caught you: “You’re doing Dry July?” Know this: you have to be ready – aesthetically, morally, spiritually – to defend your decision.

To me, that makes total sense. The rapid permeation of the sober-curious wave has given it a slight tinge of mass psychosis. We’re talking about tens of thousands of people, largely people who don’t believe they have a drinking problem, giving up the sauce. Why would anyone willingly stop drinking?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MEN'S HEALTH AUSTRALIAView All

THE GOOD FIGHT

When the going gets tough . . . the tough put others first. Here we salute some of the more selfless and courageous responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Why? Because hope and optimism are catchy. And in this time of crisis it’s worth remembering that the virus isn’t the only thing that spreads

10+ mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

TAKE REMOTE CONTROL

Working from home using furniture that isn’t built-for-purpose could take a toll on your body. MH editor Scott Henderson went hunting for solutions

4 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

Morgan Mitchell

The eye-catching star of the track has stopped running from a troubled past and is doing things her way. Get used to it

5 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

SNACK SIZED - WORKOUTS

Purpose-built for the busy man, micro workouts could make you stronger, fitter and more mobile. The best part? You can do them in self-isolation and integrate them into your working day

10+ mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

ENTER THE BEAST

Big, fast and ultra high-performing, Mercedes’ latest offering could make a grown man cry

4 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

KUMAIL NANJIANI CAN DO ANYTHING

TRANSFORM HIS WHOLE BODY. REIMAGINE A MARVEL HERO. REDEFINE THE ROLE OF LEADING MAN. AND (OF COURSE) MAKE US LAUGH

10+ mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

HOW 25 YEARS OF THE GEORGE FOREMAN GRILL CHANGED HOW MEN COOK

What happens when an ageing prizefighter, a quirky gadget and iconic ’90s marketing combine to take over the world?

8 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

BETTER MAN

Pop superstar Robbie Williams got in fighting shape while beating his mental demons into submission. Here he reveals how he pulled off perhaps the biggest transformation of them all

10+ mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

How To Change Your Story

For a third of my life, I lived in an endless replay of the story of how I never measured up – a loop that kept me locked in a spiral of shame and meaningless hustling. Then I got the nudge to do some fact-checking

7 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020

Good Guy, Bad Drinker

When booze is involved, you might not be as charming as you think you are

6 mins read
Men's Health Australia
June 2020
RELATED STORIES

Rethink How You Drink

2020 was the year of over-imbibing. Here’s how to adjust your consumption compunction.

3 mins read
Men's Journal
November - December 2020

Invisible Ropes of Love: ON CROSSING THE BRIDGE OF YOUNG ADULTHOOD

TREVOR WELTMAN describes the rite of passage he has experienced moving from youth to adulthood, how he navigated this crossing, and how meditation and yogic Transmission supported him along the way.

7 mins read
Heartfulness eMagazine
August 2020

MATTHEW PERRY: DUMPED & OFF THE RAILS

AFTER HIS LONGTIME LOVE CALLS IT QUITS, PALS SAY THE TROUBLED FRIENDS STAR IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL.

1 min read
Star
May 25, 2020

Drink More Coffee And Alcohol!

The best New Year's resolutions are the ones you'll keep because you actually want them

6 mins read
Transformation Magazine
January 2020

Whiskey & Tariffs Don't Mix

The weaponizing of trade isn’t irritating just bourbon and Scotch drinkers. It’s crashing headlong into the interwoven realities of a global industry

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Markets
February - March 2020

The American Whiskey Rebellion

Its hard to miss the veritable explosion of American whiskies popping up on the shelves of your neighborhood spirits shops and watering holes lately.

9 mins read
Maxim
January - February 2020

Demi's Shocking Confession: Booze Killed My Unborn Baby

Star reveals mania for alcohol, cocaine & pills

2 mins read
Globe
October 7, 2019

The Rum Diaries

An overlooked spirit comes into its own, and it’s cause for celebration

6 mins read
Maxim
September - October 2019

13 Things - You Can Prevent Many Cancers

One in six deaths worldwide is from cancer, yet research shows that at least 42 percent of cancers could be prevented. Along with healthy eating and not smoking, add these habits to your list of ways to lower your risk.

4 mins read
Reader's Digest US
April 2019

How To Imbibe Gin With Style

The gin renaissance is in full swing. Here’s how to imbibe with style

6 mins read
Maxim
March/April 2019