how to stop drinking

31 things you can do during Dry July other than get boozed.


One of the scariest things about ‘not drinking; whether it be for a little while or forever, at first I must admit, is the thought of, ‘well what exactly am I going to do instead?’ I remember having this thought, let me be frank, it was a fear. Not only was I stressing out about what people would think of me, if I wasn’t drinking alcohol at every event, which for me at the time, was most of the time, I also had this added fear of not just missing out but confusion about what in fact one does with one’s time when one isn’t pissing the night away.


For days I drew a blank, and I honestly could not imagine what I would do when I wasn’t drinking, but I quickly learnt there is an entire world that opens to you when you put a cap on the bottle popping and start living your life rather than wasting it, by getting wasted. And even if you not a ‘I have a problem,’ type drinker, you’re more of a social drinker, or a wine with the girls drinker or a mummy needs her medicine drinker, either way, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish and experience when you don’t have a Savvy B under your belt.


Here is a list of 31 things you can do during Dry July other than drink alcohol.


1.     Swap your G&T for a Tea

Drink tea, I know this sounds boring to some people, but I find that conversations with my girlfriends are more enlightening, less bitchy and involve less ‘woooo-ing’ when I drink tea with my girlfriends instead of a G&T


2.     Walk It Off

Yes, that’s right nature fans, walking is the actual best, and we don’t do enough of it and walking to the bar to get another round of drinks doesn’t count. Going for a walk just for 20 mins (or for as long as your beer clanging sessions would last) will make you feel amazing. It will give you that ‘take the edge off’ feeling without the next day hangover and it will save you some pennies too


3.     Do something you haven’t done since you were a kid. Rock-climbing, dance class, trampolining, fancy dress, gymnastics, go on a swing, jump in a puddle. The possibilities are endless. Stuck in the mud is a great game to play with a group of friends.


4.     Crafternoon. Find anything creative that floats your boat, my personal fave is colouring in! I own a mindfulness adult colouring book (he only ‘adult’ book I own). Anything your nanna would do; cross stich, long stitch, knitting or the ironing (I think) can fall under this category.


5.     Bake something in your actual kitchen

Get out those pans and that lining paper and get baking Martha Stewart. Make a cake or something from that Paleo cookbook you got from the  in-laws (how lovely). Make a mess in the kitchen and come up with something yummy. I personally stay away from anything loaded with sugar and out of the packet, I try to create healthy and delicious treats like this rhubarb crumble with a twist (the twist is it’s good for you).


6.     Read that book your friend recommended. (The Social Rebellion or UnEdited are also great reads).


7.     Join a sport, my pick would be Ultimate Frisbee, but anything that involves you running around chasing something other than skirt will not only keep you otr of trouble but will give you a juicy endorphin rush at the end of the game.


8.     Binge listen to that podcast everyone’s talking about. I’d recommend Healthy-ish, hosted by yours truly but I have some other recommendations here.


9.     Puppy sit. Need I say anymore?


10.  If it’s warm, find a pool or the ocean and get wet rather than wetting your whistle. I always find a body of water resets me, this might be because I live close to the beach and am a Piscean, which apparently means I’m super creative and a water sign?! Either way, jumping in the ocean and washing the day away is one of my happy places, or a cold shower will the do the trick.


11.  Do your tax, let’s be real, it’s the start of a new financial year, you’re busy and you might be due a tax return, this is the ultimate time to get your tax in early nerd.


12.  Clean out your wardrobe, or tidy up your floor-drobe. You will find many items of clothing that you haven’t worn in ages, this might be a good time to give your fashion house an overhaul and get rid of the clutter. I advise doing this gradually but if you want a challenge, go for a capsule wardrobe.


13.  Take a friend to a new place to eat. Find out where all the cool kids are eating brunch and take a friend there for a meal. Hanging out with friends during the day, away from pubs and parks next to bottle shops, will become more normal to you the more you do it, so start with today and brunch in a new place.


14.  Hangout with some old(er) people. I love hanging out with my Mum and her friends, they give me such a sense of perspective. She lives next to some grandparent aged people who I often go and have a coffee with and hear about how life was for them. I find this a beautiful way to learn and connect to people who have fascinating stories and a lot of time on their hands (and if I time it right, fresh scones out of the oven).


15.  Volunteer with a local community aid project. The best way to stop obsessing over what you might be missing out on because you weren’t out last night, is to find something bigger than yourself and get committed. Giving back is one of the most instantly gratifying things we can do as human beings and I’d like to believe that being kind towards others will fill us up.


16.  Start a vertical garden, or a rooftop garden, or a community garden, or just any kind of garden. I used to roll my eyes when my parents would spend time in the garden, what a yawn fest. Well now, I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb (as most of the plants I have attempted o grow have died), but I am into it! And I am getting better at it.


17.  Wash your car or your cat if you have a cat and it needs a bath (I’m not a cat person so I’m just guessing they need the occasional bath?). You may as well save your sweet cash that you’d splurge on the hand wash and detail people up the road (while enduring a terrible coffee), and put your new-found freedom to good use. Wash your own car or your neighbours if you’re feeling extra generous.


18.  Make your own beauty products. In my quest to rid my life of as many toxins as possible (the first one being alcohol in January 2015), I also found it a natural step to start looking into what products I was smearing on my body. My quest to stick to natural has become a way of life and I find my skins glows when I use the homemade stuff on my face in the shower.


19.  Relax. Why not just have a night in and chill out!


20.  Plan a holiday. Get out a scrap book and start planning your next trip, it may only be a year away if you use all the money you are going to save by not drinking alcohol! Why not dream up your ultimate trip and then put a plan in place to get there. Life is for living.


21.  Research the KETO diet and then decide to just stick to what you are doing because it’s easier. To be fair I do try to stick to the KETO diet as much as possible, and I am a huge nerd, so anything that gets me onto a click hole about nutrition and the latest greatest life changing research will have me in an afternoon spin for hours.


22.  Use up that random Group On voucher your distant cousin gave you last Christmas. Have you ever gone through your wallet and found old vouchers or half used gift cards? Well spend up Sally! You may as well take a trip to the shops and buy yourself a treat (a non-alcoholic treat). Dust of that old Group On experience that was ridiculously discounted and go and enjoy it, even if it is a birdwatching weekend.


23.  Organise your utensils, or whichever draw in your house becomes the ‘oh I’ll just chuck that in there’ draw. Clean it out! You don’t need three whisks now do you?


24.  Figure out how to put that DIY project that’s been I the corner of the spare room together.


25.  Have an early night. It’s so underrated, but sleep is the number one thing you can do for your health. Get some shut-eye, don’t watch that next episode of whatever, wind down and crawl into bed. You’ll feel fresher and better in the morning. Try to get to bed by 10pm if you can, and then get up earlier!



26.  Get up and watch the sunrise (not the TV show, I mean the actual sun rising) Some really smart people know why this is of benefit to one’s health and mood, so you should read more about it in this article.  


27.  Go for a drive in a really rich area and look at the houses, or just a drive through the closest National Park will do the trick .I know this is not the more environmentally sound advice, but a long drive through some beautiful scenery take life the burden of modern-day dilemma’s. I also understand that sitting in traffic and being caught in School Zones can make even the most patient person want to snap, so try to get on the open road and out of the burbs. Unless you hate driving, then just see Point 2.


28.  Feed the birds. Make your own bird bath and leave some seed out on your porch, window sill or balcony. Before long you’ll have some fathered friends some to visit and you will more than likely end up talking to them. No judgement You do you.


29.  Get a massage. Go on. Book one in! If massages are usually a once a year splurge, remember all that cash you are saving by not going to the bar every afternoon?! Use that money and book in a 90-minute tension release. Drink plenty of water afterwards.


30.  Have a big ol’ nap. Unlike Point 25, having a nap is something you can do in the middle of the day and anywhere from 10-22 minutes. I’m not sure of the science behind 22 minutes being the ultimate time for a disco nap but it’ll sure stop you going to pub and smashing a champers. Here is the ultimate guide to napping. You’re welcome.


31.  Make your own Kombucha. You do need a ‘scoby’ to start, so you need to find someone who already does their own brew, but once you get going you’ll have endless supplies of a healthy drink you can take on picnics and parties or drop some off for your neighbours.



No offence, but you’re not that special

No offence, but you’re not that special

What hundreds of thousands of women in the country are not talking about.

Walk If Off (Not Shake)

When I was a kid, some of my fave memories were when Mum, Dad and I, sometimes accompanied by my older brother, would take our family dog for a walk 'around the block'. The block is now full of townhouses, like the movie Pleasantville but with less Reese Witherspoon. The block used to be farm land and old run down drive in. The only buildings you'd pass once you veered off the main road was the General Store run by Deirdre, where we'd buy our milk and stamps, and the nursery which, for a teenager, I was quite fond of walking around. I've been told I'm an old soul. Which I think is code for liking old people stuff like walking around nursery's. I'm okay with it though, so don't feel bad for thinking that. 

Walking was a family past time. We'd walk 'around the block' with the dog, our gorgeous Rottweiler Keesha (RIP), or stack our weekend full of bush-walks in the Blue Mountains, I didn't realise it at the time, but it's been ingrained into my being and it's been my default for years. If things are too much, I just go for a walk! If I'm in a confrontation and I want to stop myself exploding with rage, I just tap out, press pause and walk it off. If I feel lost, I go for a walk. I always have. I always will. But never so much than when I stopped drinking.

One thing you notice when you stop drinking is you have a lot more time on your hands. Funny how I used to think I was too busy to look after myself, yet the answer was to stop wasting time getting wasted. In fact, when I first stopped drinking I was terrified of being bored! Ha, I have to laugh at that now, there is no boredom when you are present in your truth. And at first, I thought about drinking all the time, so to distract myself for the mild FOMO I went for a walk. At first it was 20 minutes, and then it was hours because I found my love for it again. It helped me process my thoughts, it made me feel better, it made me not want to go back to drinking. It gave me clarity, it birthed ideas and it helped with my happiness. 

When you stop drinking, whether it's for a little or a long time, you will have more time on your hands, so I took it to the streets. Kind of like in the dance movie, Step Up To The Streets. I walked. I got up earlier because I went to bed earlier (and I wasn't hungover or dehydrated). Sure, some mornings I was half asleep half around the new block I walked but I felt good and other mornings I just didn't want to go but you now what? Sometimes you have to tap into your character instead of your comfort. And once you start feeling good, it's addictive. Like alcohol, but way better for your brain health. No-one made a regrettable choice after an hour of walking! 

Walking became my 'thing' again, so did F45 but that's another story. And no matter how much I lift bro or sweat it out in a gym session, making time for my 'thing' is what brings me clarity and calm. When I am calm, I can do the work. When I can do the work I get the results and I'm not talking about losing weight or building lean muscle mass. I mean life results. You know like publishing books, or renovating houses. Or just being an awesome wife and a pleasant human to be around. 

I'd read walking has great physical health benefits, and that's kinfd of I discovered it had amazing mental health benefits. My brain is so loud, it really doesn't stop. I have creative ideas that wake me up, I am in an almost constant state of mild anxiety about how to not let anyone down, I want to achieve and change the world, my world. When you have an active brain, it's hard to be quiet. It's tough to stop the thoughts and arrest them to being in the present. I think I have lived most of life 5 seconds in the future having a panic attack right now about a hypothetical that usually wouldn't play out as the horror I imagined. This also why I used to drink alcohol. Just to stop. Just to numb. Just to quieten the mind and be able to finally for a few moments relax. And as much as yes, having a drink can take the edge off, the damage it does to your internal system is insane. It stops your brain functioning properly, it shuts down your neural pathways and sends your central nervous system into overdrive. That's usually why you wake up at 3am after a few too many drinks with a dry throat, a pounding headache and a racing heart.  Then the panic rises and you feel awful, so, really not a great solution in the end. It took me a while to figure this out. 

The relax that I thought the bottle used to give me, I found in nature. What also strikes me as concerning is how much we think alcohol does for us. We think it relaxes us, but it doesn't. We think it'll somehow change our situation but it doesn't. We think it our companion but it's not.


I much prefer the mind being quiet. The thoughts coming and then just going and it all began with walking.  As you do a thing more you get better at it, I've replaced my gold medal winning drinking performance, with a walking habit. But not just walking to let off steam. Walking and being here, now, present. Seeing what I am seeing. Feeling what I am feeling. Smelling the air. Stopping to take it in. When you surround yourself with nature, it's hard to feel anything less than a small miracle.  


Why willpower won’t work.


 Why willpower won’t work.


I think Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park fame summed it up perfectly in his side hustle Fort Minor song ‘Remember the Name.’ In fact it’s been my anthem for many years, my inspo song, my mantra.


This is ten percent luck
Twenty percent skill
Fifteen percent concentrated power of will
Five percent pleasure
Fifty percent pain
And a hundred percent reason to remember the name


It’s a total combo deal, navigating this life stuff and will power has its place, yes, but there’s no point trying to increase your will power until you know what your problem is. And when it comes to drinking, alcohol isn’t the problem, really, it’s your relationship with it.


Willpower is a word that I associate with quitting things and the 90s. I feel like it was a buzz word when Tony Robbins was unleashing power, Oprah was making the connection, hyper colour tee-shirts were in and I was suffering through a terrible perm. (Although it’s called a perm, thankfully this wasn’t permanent, just most of my Year 9 in high school experience).


When I think about what willpower is, it’s wrapped up in the world of motivation and being better, focussing on doing something or not doing something with all your might, strength, will and power. And that to me, sounds exhausting. I’m not suggesting will power doesn’t have a place and should be cast aside with other trends from the 90s like the side pony and Gameboys but when it comes to managing your relationship with alcohol, will power just won’t cut it. And here’s why. And don’t worry, I have something to share with you, that will empower, in fact that’s the term we should use instead.


According to the dictionary, willpower is to control exerted to something or restrain impulses or the ability to control your own thoughts and the way in which you behave. And while there are a hundred thousand books about increasing, developing, training, harnessing and implementing willpower this also sounds very much like just being a well-mannered non-pain in the ass human.


If you are ‘using your willpower’ to overcome something, it’s best to first know and try to understand why the hell it’s a thing for you in the first place, right? I mean it’s common sense to know thyself. If your choices are confusing you, like mine were, then a good self-talk in the mirror will establish within you a dialogue about why you are doing what you are doing that requires all your willpower to stop.


Start at awareness.


Without the awareness of why you are doing a thing, there isn’t a chance you’ll be able to ‘control’ it. I’m not a fan of the world control either. ‘In control’ or ‘out of control’ to me feel restrictive, I like the word freedom. To have freedom around your choices, you need to understand that they are your choices to make.


The endless cycle I had of ‘I don’t want to drink today’ and then, ‘oh shoot I’m at the bar again’ I battled with for ages and no matter how much ‘willpower’ I asserted I ended up at the bar because I hadn’t realized why I was drinking. Until you have awareness, you can’t even comprehend being able to overcome an urge. In this case, drinking. A little too much or a little too often. Or perhaps a lot. It’s really that simple. Figure out the reason behind the behaviour, then you can use logic to make a new choice.


My dilemma was this. Why was it that when it came to my career, I was a willpower ninja, I was so in control, getting promoted at work, rising to the top, yet in my personal alone time, I was a hot mess, unable to get through the week without a drink. Sound familiar? Surely this isn’t about willpower. Surely willpower isn’t discriminatory. Surely if you have it, you just have it, like the X factor or period pain.


The self-talk in the mirror allowed me to identify the reason behind the choice to drink alcohol, as much and as often as I was, and I was then able to start to deal with the pain I was masking. Without getting too deep, I was drinking to cope with the pressure I was under. Most of it self-inflicted, and some past trauma I had failed to deal with in a productive way. I was your classic high-functioning, I woke up like this, kick-ass woman with a serious case of trying to hold it all together. And you just can’t. All the self-help manuals and Tony Robbins walk-across-burning-hot-coals motivation seminars in the world won’t be of any use to you, until you knuckle down and figure out the reason for the behaviour.


When it comes to changing a behaviour that has become ‘normal’ for you, the first thing to do is to figure out the why. Why? Without understanding why, you drink, you won’t be able to deal with the underlying problem that you’re using alcohol to ignore, numb or run away from. And even if it’s as simple as, ‘well, I just feel more comfortable in social situations after a few drinks,’ I would argue that you are a wonderfully complex person and we were designed to sit in the uncomfortable to let shape us. You are capable of being in a social situation without being half-cut. We were designed to be! The only way you can grow, is to be in that place, without that drink, and be ok with you, first.