How I did Dry July while working at a liquor store - Isabel
What it’s like working for unwstd. as a drinker, and also working at a bottle shop, whilst challenging yourself to go alcohol free for a whole month.
I guess I’d say my alcohol free journey began once I joined the unwstd. team.
As part of my university degree one of the requirements is to either do a live brief project or an internship - clearly I chose the latter. Upon searching for different graphic design internships, I fell in love with unwstd. and their mission. Plus I thought I’d also be a shoe-in for the job considering I’ve been working at a liquor store for over 3 years and am familiar to the world of drinking. And clearly I was! I’ve been with the team since May and have loved every second of it!
Now when it comes to working for a big liquor chain like I do, there is lots and lots of training when it comes to knowing what you’re talking about. That includes countless paid training sessions of wine tasting, customer role-play (yes we have to act out scenarios in front of a group, not cringey at all), and learning about different wine varietals. We also get discounts on the drinks our company owns/imports and occasionally a free bottle of wine or a can of beer.
So needless to say, we typically develop an interest in drinks and drinking. Not to say I’m an alcoholic or anything, but I do enjoy a cheeky Friday arvo beer or a glass of red whilst I’m cooking dinner, and don’t get me started about G&Ts.
But upon joining the team at unwstd., I began trying more and more alcohol free drinks. I had definitely had a few in the past, and I could appreciate the idea behind them, but they weren’t really for me. But as I started to become part of this af world, I could understand and appreciate more why these af drinks are important. It isn’t just about trying to be sober and having an alternative for when you really want to drink, it’s about being able to have an option for when maybe you don’t feel like getting tipsy on a weeknight but would love a rosé, or don’t want to stick out at a party because you’re not drinking, or just want to be able to get up on a Saturday and not have a raging hangover from the night before.
As part of this journey I decided to do Dry July this year. Typically every year I raise money for cancer, usually by doing Relay for Life in my local area, but due to covid it wasn’t an option. Thus I decided to challenge myself and go a whole 31 days alcohol free. I’m not gonna lie, I was honestly scared, like how was I going to go alcohol free for that long? With covid, and how it has affected my work, alongside with finishing a degree which was already hard enough without adding the stress of having to complete it online, it was looking pretty scary. How was I going to relax after running around for 8 hours non-stop at my job, or when I had a pretty big assignment due the following week and had no idea what I was going to do for it?
But, I held my head high, remembered the good cause that I was doing it for, downed a few drinks the night before, and began my sober July the next day.
It started off pretty well, I had a lot of faith in myself and I had also stocked up on some alcohol free beers and G&Ts, so needless to say, I came prepared. However, I did find myself on multiple occasions going to the kitchen to pour a glass of wine, momentarily forgetting that I had sworn off it for the following month, which would lead me to yelling a frustrated “ahhh!” and after having my mini meltdown, returning to what I was doing previously.
The first week went pretty well if I do say so myself. I drank plenty of Nort and Heaps Normal beers and had a couple of the new Great Northern 0’s too. It wasn’t the same but hey, at least they tasted good!
I did have a friend who donated some money in the form of a “golden ticket” though which allowed me to drink for a day during my 2nd week, and it was kind of my saving grace, especially seeing as I had to stay up that entire night to do an assignment for uni that was due the next day. And whilst some people would expect me to probably get wasted, I didn’t. I had my couple of beers, thanked and thanked my mate, and the following day I got back to my challenge as if my “day off” never happened.
As the month went on, I did find myself wishing I could try all the new beers my roommate was bringing home, or make a cocktail with the new bottles of liquor that I bought on sale, but to my (and to be honest, probably everyone else’s) surprise, I stayed strong. I persisted and tried my hand at making different alcohol free drinks like a guava margarita and mulled wine, and even made some cute cocktail garnishes that I could have with my drinks. And today I’ve reached day 31 of being dry, hooray! And I’ve also raised $571 (and counting) for a great cause that aids people with cancer and assists with cancer research, and I couldn’t be more proud of myself.
Isabel's home-made alcohol free mulled wine.
So what am I going to do next on this Alcohol Free journey?
I can honestly say that I’m definitely going to have a few drinks tomorrow.
So no, I’m not going to continue this completely alcohol free lifestyle anytime soon, I appreciate the world of alcohol too much to do that, and not just for the simple fact that it makes me drunk. But because of all the different and unique flavours of craft beer, because of all the cool and fun tasty cocktails I can make, and for all the different wine and food pairings that there are, and so much more.
However, I can definitely say I’ll be cracking open a Heaps Normal beer when I feel like a drink, but I’m still on the clock, or a McGuigan zero shiraz for when I’ve had a long day but don’t feel like getting buzzed, or a Lyre’s Almafi Spritz on a Saturday night after work, but I’ve got an early start to my day the next morning.
But for the meantime, I’ll be having a classic G&T because I deserve it!
Support Isabel's cause and help those affected by cancer by donating here.