Control freak

ALAN STOKES
Last updated 05:00 10/07/2014

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OPINION: I am going to sue the blokes behind Dry July.

They have negligently established a no-alcohol month to coincide with the final State of Origin match on Wednesday in which NSW will achieve a clean sweep against Queensland for the first time in 14 years.

What's more, the fund-raising event is being held in a month that includes July 4 - US Independence Day - and a nice dinner with friends. It's been cold, too, so a warmer-upperer each evening is essential. The days have been quite nice as well, so you need a beer or six to cap off  a good surf. Then you have to reward yourself for getting through the last financial year without going broke. The children are on holidays so there has to be some pay-off at the end for the day for that, surely. Then there's Christmas in July, Wimbledon, the World Cup and the Tour de France.

Did I mention the need to celebrate the anniversary of the first time you successfully completed Dry July and the five times you have since?

Even worse, this year the Dry July conspirators are expecting the likes of me to give up the booze just as research is published to prove doctors can easily establish which of the 19.8 per cent of us are problem drinkers. According to a study published in the British Journal of General Practice, the GP has to ask two simple questions. They are: "How often do you have six or more drinks on one occasion?" and "As a result of your drinking or drug use, did anything happen in the last year that you wish didn't happen?"

So when I win the case against Dryish July, I will sue the researchers, my doctor, my therapist, the alcohol companies and Woolworths for inventing Dan Murphy's.

Then I'll sue Fairfax Media for putting on the City2Surf 10 days after Dryish July ends. No one can be expected to run 14 kilometres in such a booze-filled month.

Then I will give myself a stiff uppercut and ask the two questions so many fathers dread: when will my children divorce me for my exposing them to my bad habits and/or alcohol-sodden genes? And will that day arrive before I succumb to my fatal flaws?

So many partners in marriages and de facto relationships divorce their other halves due to drinking problems. Those who stay together often do so for the children. Sometimes it works out and the drinker gets help. Most times it does not and only the scars survive.

Yet, as children mature, they know there's a problem with mum or dad. As such, Dry July is a godsend: a month when you can prove to your children you are in control.

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Don't get me wrong. Dry July raises money for a wonderful cause. And a month off booze is great for the vast majority of people who enjoy a glass or two a week.

But for so many of us Dryish July is followed by Alcohol August, Sloshed September, Overdo It October, No Idea What Went On Last Night November, Doo-doo-doo-doo-da-da-da-da December and Just Six Months To Dry July January.

You make up the rest - and, if you are like me, see your doctor.

Such is life ...

- Sydney Morning Herald

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