Top tips! How to survive (and thrive!) through Dry July


Want to register for Dry July in 2021, but not sure you’ll be able to get through the month without a cheeky glass of wine or a few of your fav cocktails? Rachel Chappell, North Shore Mums Founder, has done Dry July for the last three years, and shares her top tips for not only resisting alcohol, but actually being ‘okay’ with not drinking!

Ever considered doing Dry July, but think it’s “all too hard”? Maybe it’s your birthday month, or your husband’s birthday month. Maybe it’s too hard because it’s school holidays (and you need a drink at the end of an exhausting day!). Or maybe you have a social calendar that’s bursting with ‘catch ups’ and you simply can’t imagine attending all those events without drinking?

I know, I know. I’ve had those same excuses too. But I’m here to tell you that yes, it can be done.

I’ve done Dry July for the past three years, and every year it’s become easier for me to cope with 31 days off the booze. In fact, last year, I so enjoyed how I felt after a month off alcohol, I actually decided to extend the period of abstinence and did a whole three months alcohol-free. Since that experience, my relationship with alcohol has fundamentally changed too. I don’t drink at frequently (maybe once a week), and when I do drink, it’s much less quantity (so rather than sinking back a whole bottle at a party, it will just be a couple of glasses).

I’m not perfect, by any means. I had one ‘blow out’ at a super fun 80’s event in the Hunter Valley… and whilst it was lots of fun at the time, the hangover I had the following day was a stark reminder about why I don’t drink like that anymore. Sometimes you gotta fall off the wagon to want to jump back on it again!

Yes, I totally understand that it can be daunting to go a whole month without alcohol… but it really is possible once you’ve got your head around it! By the end of the month, you’ll feel amazing, I promise! You’ll have more energy, you’ll have a spring in your step and you may have even lost a few kilos. What’s not to love?

As I now consider myself a bit of a Dry July ‘expert’, I thought I’d share what I’ve done to help you through a month without alcohol. I want to let you know that it’s not only possible, but it actually gets a lot easier if you’ve got the right ‘tools’ in your belt!

Top tips for going without alcohol for Dry July

1. Read ‘The Alcohol Experiment: 30 Days To Take Control, Cut Down Or Give Up For Good’, by Annie Grace

The Alcohol Experiment‘ is a book that has fundamentally changed the way I view alcohol. It’s honestly one of the most life-changing books that I’ve ever read, and is one that you’ll want on your bedside table every night during July. Honestly, by the end of the month, you’ll be looking at alcohol in a whole new way, and may not even want to return to your old ways.

The brilliant thing about this book (which makes it the perfect pairing for Dry July), is that every chapter focuses a different science-backed aspect of alcohol, to explain the cultural and emotional conditioning we experience around alcohol. So as a result, you start to view alcohol differently and don’t actually want to drink as much (or at all!). 

It’s a judgement-free zone. The book is written in a really compassionate way, as Annie has been there herself with struggling with alcohol, and simply shares her wisdom, tested strategies, and thought-provoking information to support your step-by-step success as you learn what feels good for you. 

There are a million reasons to drink. It tastes great. You feel alive. It helps you relax. But are you really in control? The Alcohol Experiment shows a new way of thinking and offers a 30-day programme with a difference. It asks you to look closer at why you drink, what you get out of it and whether it’s really the alcohol that’s giving you what you want. From the bestselling author of This Naked Mind, Annie Grace gives you the tools to take control of your drinking for good. – The Alcohol Experiment synopsis

Honestly, buy this book. You can grab it online at Booktopia for $17.50, or can probably find it at most local bookstores too. Make sure you have a copy by 30 June!

2. Replace your nightly tipple with Kombucha!

Tea Gardens Kombucha

Enjoying a Kombucha can be a new nightly ritual

At the end of a busy day, having a ‘special’ drink to look forward to can sometimes help to flick the switch from daytime run-around, to the night time routine. But that drink doesn’t need to be alcoholic!

During Dry July last year, I really got into Kombucha. It’s not only a delicious fizzy drink (so feels like a bit of a treat), but it’s also packed full of health goodness (like Living Superfoods & Active Enzymes) and very low in calories (around 25-30 per bottle). It was something I could look forward at the end of year day and, bonus, I knew was actually doing me good.

You can buy a whole range of different brands and flavours from the supermarket, or you can stock up online stores… my personal favs are Remedy and Tea Gardens Kombucha.

3. Manage social situations by drinking the alcohol-free alternatives!

Irene is a North Shore Mum, and founder of Sans Drinks

Managing social situations is probably the hardest thing about Dry July, particularly when you’re used to having a glass of wine in your hand around friends & family events. But there is a solution!

Simply replace your favourite alcohol drink with the non-alcoholic equivalent. Whether that’s champagne, sauvignon blanc, rose, a robust red, beer or spirits, there’s an alcohol-free alternative for every drink. Having an alternative really makes it easier in those social situations when you really feel like you ‘need’ a glass of something in your hand, but you don’t want that ‘something’ to be just sparkling water.

I’ve tried lots of zero alcohol wines and to be honest, I actually prefer the taste of the alcohol free versions. Plus, it means you can drive home and not wake up with a hangover.

Since my first Dry July in 2018, the market for alcohol-free wines & beers has exploded, and it’s very exciting. There are more options available at bottle shops, and an incredible choice online at Sans Drinks.

Excitingly, Sans Drinks has just opened Australia’s first ever non-alcoholic drinks superstore, right here in Freshwater on Sydney’s Northern Beaches! So you can pop in for a browse of their huge range of alcohol-free alternatives. It’s run by an incredible local North Shore Mums, Irene Falconer, who is also the brains behind Nourished Life. What a superstar!

4. Remind yourself about what you’re gaining (not giving up!)

Rather than think about the things you’re going to ‘lose’ by doing Dry July, focus on the things you will gain, like

  • More energy during the day
  • A clearer head
  • Sleeping better at night
  • Bouncing out of bed  without feeling fuzzy
  • Weight loss
  • Healthier skin
  • Sense of achievement

But it’s not just about you. By registering with Dry July, you’ll be able to raise funds for people affected by cancer. These funds provide invaluable services to cancer patients, their families and carers – whether it’s a lift to a life-saving appointment, guidance from a specialist nurse, connection to an informative voice, access to therapy programs or a bed close to treatment.

So if you’re having a ‘wobble’, write down the reasons you’re doing Dry July.

5. You’ve got a Golden Ticket if you really need it

If there’s that one big event that you really can’t imagine not drinking at, you can still do Dry July. Just ask a friend to sponsor you a Golden Ticket, which entitles you to a night off! So if you do have a special occasion where you’d really love a cheeky glass of something sparkly, you can ask a friend to sponsor you a Golden Ticket.

Genius! You not only get the night off, but it’s also another way to encourage more donations. It’s a win-win!


About Dry July

Dry July is all about raising funds for cancer. The Dry July Foundation aims to make a difficult time, a little easier for those affected by cancer. Whether that’s a comfy chair, a brighter waiting room, a lift to an appointment, or a complimentary massage; these are just some of the ways your fundraising will help cancer patients and their families. Find out more.

When you decide to register for Dry July, you can choose your funds to directly benefit the Dry July Foundation, or you can choose from a range of other cancer-related organisations.


Disclosure: This article features affiliate links to online shops, which means that this website will get a small commission if you buy after clicking on one of those links. All recommendations are 100% genuine, and based on real experience with the products recommended. These commissions help North Shore Mums remain a free website for our readers so we don’t need to charge a subscription to view our articles.

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