Dry July does much more than raise funds for cancer patients and their carers across Australia, it’s also an opportunity for people struggling with alcohol dependence to break free and enter sobriety, writes Colleen Morris.*
In its tenth year, Dry July has become a celebrated part of Aussie culture as people abstain from alcohol for a good cause. But the phenomenon also shines a light on the less talked about part of our society—the fact that 17% of Aussies are classified as ‘lifetime risky drinkers’ by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (meaning they consume at least two standard drinks of alcohol per day).
Alcohol dependence leads to a myriad of problems, from liver poisoning to relationship breakdowns and cancer, so Dry July gives people the kick-start they need to begin the journey to sobriety. But when you struggle with addiction, this path is filled with obstacles.
If you have only recently become sober, then the chance of relapse is very high. Having a structured program to keep you focused and distracted from thoughts of alcohol is essential to recovery. To ensure recovery, it is important that you also get to know yourself better. Here are three steps to help you on your way.
1. Discover the right counsellor for you
People frequently put off seeking professional assistance because they have tried counselling before and it was not helpful at the time. This might be due to a variety of reasons:
• your readiness to change;
• you did not feel that the counsellor connected with you;
• the counsellor’s particular style of intervention did not
work for you.
Don’t be put off. It frequently takes a few different counsellors before you come across the right one for you. Don’t do it alone. You need ongoing professional help to keep you on track, motivated and accountable.
2. Discover who you are
Alcohol robbed you of your identity. You may not have a clue as to why you became so dependent upon alcohol. You may not know what your particular ‘triggers’ are or why you are so vulnerable to those particular triggers. Who are you without a glass of alcohol in your hand?
Don’t know where to start? Counselling can act as a ‘guide’ to self-discovery. A counsellor is skilled in the art of listening and asking the questions that can help lead you to your true identity.
3. Discover what you are passionate about
Do you know what you get excited about when you don’t have a drink in your hand? It is likely that you have not thought about what you are passionate about for a long time. It is passion that will get you out of bed in the morning and motivate you to keep doing the things you need to do to stay sober and focused.
Think about your passions, and discuss them with your loved ones and a counsellor. When you discover them, use these to motivate you on the journey to sobriety and you will live a more fulfilled life.
For details about the Salvos’ addiction services, visit salvos.org.au/need-help/addiction-services.
*Colleen Morris is a families and alcohol and addiction counsellor at Watersedge Counselling in Geelong.