I made a resolution at the end of June to stop drinking for Dry July, and hopefully quit smoking for good at the same time. I fell apart just one week in, but I haven’t given up. It turns out it was necessary for me to fall in order to succeed.
One of the rules of Dry July is that if you want a hall pass for one day in the month to drink, someone has to buy you a Golden Ticket at a minimum cost of $25. This Golden Ticket allows you to drink for one night, as nominated by the person making the donation. I initially requested that nobody buy me a Golden Ticket so as not to derail my progress, but I cracked last Saturday when I went to a friend’s place to do my tax return (since the ATO still hasn’t made a native version for Macs yet).
As I mentioned previously, seeing friends who smoke makes me want to smoke. That association is extremely difficult for me to resist. While I was doing my tax return, my friend headed out onto the balcony to have a cigarette, and instantaneously memories of all the good times we’ve had together talking and smoking on his balcony into the wee hours of the morning came flooding back. I was out of willpower.
I asked him to buy me a Golden Ticket. He said no. I asked my boyfriend to buy me a Golden Ticket. He also said no. I messaged my girlfriend, who is on my Dry July team, and whined about how much I needed a cigarette and a drink right now. She was sympathetic but also said no. So I bought myself a Golden Ticket, with money I didn’t have – on the credit card. I really was that desperate. My boyfriend then offered me a $50 donation to “suck it up and be strong”. I turned down his offer. Selfish, right?
I felt partially relieved and partially guilty. I tried to make myself feel better by telling myself that I was aiming for progress, not perfection. Still, I was letting down people who had made donations and were counting on me to make it through the month. That night, I had one beer and a handful of cigarettes. They didn’t even taste good, and my lungs paid for it hard the next morning.
Do I regret my actions that night? Not at all. Quite the opposite in fact. Thanks to my lack of self control, I ended up getting a donation that I wouldn’t have otherwise – even if I was the one who ended up making the donation. I also realise now that falling down served the purpose of reminding me why I was quitting in the first place; drinking and smoking don’t make me feel good. I like the fact that I’ve been going to bed each night without having to use the inhaler. I don’t wake up wheezing and struggling to breathe anymore. I no longer worry about wasting half the day due to hangovers.
To be on the safe side, I’ll be avoiding temptations for the rest of the month. No seeing friends. No Friday night beer. No going out on a Saturday night. I’ll appreciate all motivation I can get, so if you want to throw a few bucks towards the Prince of Wales hospital, you can do so here.
If you’re also doing Dry July, tell us how you’re coping in the comments.