Dry July - a personal journey

Date20 July 2021
Published date20 July 2021
Mary, as the mother of young children, says she often found herself alone caring for her children.

"It can sometimes be quite a lonely and isolating experience."

She found that she would start to drink a glass of wine when preparing dinner. She also used alcohol as a way to try to encourage her 'creativity' as a buddying artist. She got limited 'free' time as a mother and she suddenly realised her downtime was spent drinking. She felt constant guilt that her breath smelled of alcohol as she cuddled her children and that she would often fall asleep while reading them bedtime stories.

One glass didn't help inspire Mary to start or finish any art pieces - something she had always struggled with in the past. She would often find herself having a second or third glass of wine, turning from one bottle into two. It did not help her art or motivation in any way.

Several years ago, a friend of hers on Facebook started a 100-day challenge to post a daily photograph. Mary thought about the idea and decided she would try it for giving up alcohol, using her art as a way to help her through.

So, with a few self-imposed rules the challenge began. She decided she had to start and finish her art piece in the one and a half to two hours of 'childfree' time she could squeeze in each day. She would post the completed art piece on social media each day opening herself up to the critique of her friends. She would offer it for sale for the price of a bottle of wine, six pack or bottle of vodka.

Mary says she did not find it an easy experience. She was lucky in the support and encouragement her friends offered her. She was also pleasantly surprised at how many pieces of art she sold and shipped off around the country.

"Day 66 was an 'ah I'm not drinking but I'm not feeling or looking any better nor am I any richer' moment.

It was a 'moan' moment but I wasn't going to have a drink. Friends encouraged me through it," Mary said.

Day 99 was also tough: "Once again I was ready to have a drink but my friends were there to help me."

On Day 100, Mary said she had one drink and realised it no longer held the same power over her: "I knew so much more about myself and about the triggers. I drank in loneliness as well as happiness. I knew what art I liked doing best and what I wanted to further explore as an artist without the time pressure of starting and finishing a piece in a few...

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