Image: Put down the bottle (via Broad City).
If you’ve embarked on the Dry July challenge this year, chances are your motivations were charitable.
The annual fundraiser aims to improve the wellbeing of adult cancer patients and their families, using donations to help fund various projects by local cancer organisations. Saying no to wine, cocktails and co. for a month is a small price to pay to support Aussies who are doing it tough, so well done, you.
However, going dry this July won’t just help others —you’ll also be doing your health, wellbeing and bank account a service. So if you get three weeks in and suddenly crave a mojito, reminding yourself of all the negative effects you’re sidestepping by not drinking could help to keep you motivated.
We often think of drinking in terms of its long-term effects (more on that in a moment) but throwing back too many glasses on one occasion can impact your body in a number of ways. Here’s what you’ll be missing out on through Dry July:
1. Risk of injury
Because alcohol impairs your balance, cognitive abilities and motor skills, it makes you more likely to hurt yourself, even in a home situation. Tripping over your feet is one thing, but alcohol use in Australia has been linked to more serious incidents including fire injuries, drowning and industrial accidents — not to mention drink driving.
2. Social issues
We view alcohol as a social lubricant, but it doesn't always help our interactions with others. Mood swings and extreme emotions are a common behavioural side-effect of drinking, and then there's the lowered inhibitions, which can sometimes make us say or do things we regret (and worse even — forget) the next day.
3. Hidden health effects
Your stomach, cardiovascular system, immune system, libido and lungs can also take a hit when you're on the grog. For instance, have you ever had a massive weekend on the town, then caught a cold a few days later?
That could be the result of your immune response being inhibited by alcohol. Inflammation of the stomach lining, irregular heartbeats and alterations in the body's hormone levels can also occur.
4. Cravings for crappy food
Alcohol has a tendency to tempt even the healthiest eaters to the kebab/fries/pizza stand at 3am — even if you had a decent meal before going out. Abstaining will not only stop you throwing your cash at junk food vendors, but it'll save you from bingeing on fatty, high-calorie foods your sober self would probably like to steer clear of. Or, at least, remember eating.