Dry January Final Check-In

The final day of January is here. Technically, it’s the first day of February, but I digress. I should say, the final day of Dry January is here and I’m happy to report that I made it. I started this trip on January 5th and tomorrow I will have my first drink since the 4th. It’s funny because it felt so long, but now that I’m at the end, I guess it didn’t feel as long as it did while I was in it. I was sick for about the first two weeks, which was miserable because I hadn’t been sick in a while. I think also that the “withdrawal” symptoms from not having cigarettes may have been affecting me at the same time making it that much worse. I made it through though, with only one fancy glass of wine along the way. If there’s one thing that this experience has taught me is that I really don’t like drinking as much as I thought I did.

I’ve gotten so much done these past few weeks. I’m sure most of it has to do with a lack of a social life. It’s funny how your interactions with people can change when you subtract the alcohol. Many of my friends were also doing a Dry January. Perhaps we were all just enjoying a little bit of solitary reset time for the month. January sometimes feels like that. It feels like a bit of a hibernation. Time to reset and refocus your attention on what is going to be important to you this year. The other thing I’ve noticed about the last few weeks is that I’m sleeping better which in turn is giving me more energy throughout the day. I love this part because it’s making me more excited to work out and be active. I’ve been going to yoga the last two Saturdays, working out at home after work and even stretching while I’m at work. It feels good. And my body feels better for it.

I wouldn’t say I’m not looking forward to drinking tomorrow, but I am excited to hang out with friends. It will be interesting to see how my tolerance to alcohol has changed. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to drink. I’ve pretty much ruled out beer just because I think it will make me feel bloaty and gross, but moscow mules sound like they could be dangerous too. The most appealing option to me, at least in my head, is white wine. Something I can chill and just sip throughout the day. I don’t want to drink too much, but I have a feeling I’m going to have to figure out what that new limit is. I also don’t want to drink to the point where I want to break down and smoke. I’ve been thinking about getting a vape pen for those moments. I want to feel like I’ve actually quit and not just switched out cigarettes for something else.

Overall, I really enjoyed this experience. It gave me clarity of mind and made me rethink something that I think had become a somewhat normal facet of my life. This isn’t to say that I want to quit drinking all together because, let’s face it, sometimes that fancy glass of wine is nice. I do think, however, that cutting back and enjoying it more intentionally will be good. I may pick up another month along the year, we’ll see, for now, I’m going to look forward to that fancy glass of wine tomorrow. I’m proud of myself for making it this far and sticking to it. Now to get onto the rest of my resolutions… wish me luck.

Day 17: Dry January

Wow, my last Dry January check-in was utterly and terribly depressing. I really was feeling like crap though, so I guess it was my real feelings coming through (ha, sorry). Fortunately, I’m feeling MUCH, MUCH better this week. I still have a little bit of a cough, but I think I’m mostly mended. I think the fact that I’m not drinking and thus not smoking cigarettes actually made it so that my body could heal faster, specifically with the coughing. Anyway, today is day 17 and I feel fantastic. My head is clear, I am falling asleep faster and sleeping longer and uninterrupted which is great except for when I need to wake up early and get my butt to work. I don’t really miss drinking either but I’ll write more about the reason I stopped drinking for a month later in this post.

First, let me start by telling you all the amazing things that I’ve noticed in the last 17 days (well at least the last 7 that I haven’t felt like a total zombie). I’m sleeping better, which is a major plus in my book. I’m not usually great at falling or staying asleep. I suffer from typical female bedtime anxiety. You know, the hour before you try to go to sleep that suddenly becomes the hour in which you worry about everything real and imagined for no reason at all whatsoever. I also typically have a difficult time staying asleep, waking up sometimes several times a night around 2am-4am. This hasn’t happened recently which is amazing. I’m getting at least 8 hours every night which anyone who can do this will tell you, makes you feel like a real normal human being. I do have a confession however; I did have one glass of wine at dinner over the weekend. BUT it was only one glass and it was because the hubs and I went out to a fancy restaurant for dinner as part of a downtown event for charity. I felt like this one glass was excusable because the dinner was so nice and no nice dinner feels complete without a fancy beverage. I am happy to report that the glass lasted me the entire three-course dinner, which never happens, and I think allowing myself the treat made the wine that much sweeter (not in flavor but in feeling).

I will be breaking my alcohol fast on Superbowl Sunday, which seems like not only a good excuse but a good amount of time. You see, I didn’t take on this challenge because I feel like I’m an alcoholic per say, but rather because I feel like I have enough alcoholism in my blood to make it a possibility. This also isn’t to say that I haven’t struggled with alcohol before because I totally have, and it wasn’t really something I had thought about until before this challenge. When I was younger, I would drink ALOT. I would drink so much that I would get terribly drunk, then I would vomit privately and then continue to drink. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “puke and rally”? Well, this was sort of my motto. And looking back what a terrible and embarrassing motto it was. This hasn’t been my mode of partying for quite some time, in fact partying in and of itself hasn’t been in my mode for years, but thinking back to this time made me realize that I could very well develop a huge problem if I allow myself. This Dry January challenge for me was a way of showing myself that I am strong enough to say no to alcohol. I am strong enough to say no to getting drunk. I am strong enough to have a life without alcohol. Now don’t get me wrong, the social aspects of this are huge and can be quite difficult. It seems that these days everybody drinks and everybody drinks together. To be honest, I haven’t spent much time with people since starting this challenge. It’s funny though because most of the people I spend my time with are also not drinking this month so maybe I’m not the only one to blame.

Overall, I’m digging this whole no-drinking thing and I think it’s helping me see the benefit of having it as a habit and not drinking as regularly as I was before. Again, this is not to say that I drank alot before (usually weekends and maybe once mid-week), but I think so far it’s a great reminder of how good it feels not to. Not only do I feel great, but I haven’t even mentioned all the stuff I got done this weekend. I felt so motivated and active I was able to accomplish things I’ve been putting off for months (here’s looking at you pile of clothes to be mended). To say I’m not excited for SuperBowl would be a lie, I do miss a big glass of wine every now and then, but I AM excited for the prospect of a teensy life change. I encourage anyone and everyone to take a sabbatical from alcohol if not for the enlightenment but for the challenge itself. And if you do decide to try and cut it out for a bit, check back in with me and tell me how you feel.

MelissaRose

Day 10: Dry January

Today is day 10 of my first ever Dry January, and wouldn’t you know it, I’m feeling like crap. It’s annoying really. Anyone who has ever done this whole sober-for-a-month thing has told me how “great” I’m going to feel. “Your head will feel so clear”, they said. “You’ll sleep great”, “You’ll have more energy”, “You’ll be happier”. Well so far, not so good. I’m not sure yet whether to attribute my sickness to my lack of alcohol, as I’m sure that’s not the case; however, this blows, and I’m not just talking about my nose. I suppose, in all fairness, being sick is actually making it easier to not drink, which in turn makes it easier to not smoke since that’s the only time that I really crave a cigarette. But all in all, I’d trade in this sickness for the shame of a drink and a smoke in a heartbeat.

I wish I had something better to report. I wish I had an encouraging post about how my lack of alcohol has made the world a better place and I’m farting rainbows and rosey smells, but right now, I just feel like poop. I’m looking forward to not feeling this way and to being filled with alcohol-free inspiration and encouragement. If you’re still reading this, I apologize for being such a pitiful, snot filled sack of sadness. All in all, though, I suppose I should be proud of myself. 10 days of not drinking may not seem like a whole lot but to me it’s feat in itself. I usually drink on the weekends and typically once a week right in the middle of my weeks. The mid-week drink I suppose is the drink I use to get me through the week, and last week I took Friday off due to illness so I haven’t had to work a full week in a while either which helps.

To summarize, yes, I feel like crap-o-la, but I’m trying to find a glimmer of happiness in the fact that I’m still here doing what I set out to do for January. 10 days of no drinks or smokes. I’m also hoping that not drinking and not smoking will heal this sickness faster. It should heal faster after they actually install some filters in the intakes at work too, but that’s another conversation all together, along with the mold in my ceiling tiles in my office. Nothing like a solid cough to help motivate a conversation with management about workplace conditions! If you find it in your heart, say a little prayer, or send a little healing light my way. I’m needing it today.

MelissaRose

2020 Resolution #1: Dry January + Better Health

Every New Year it seems I am trying harder and harder to make promises to myself to take better care of my body. Last year it was a two week detox from alcohol, smoking and sweets, this year I’m tackling an entire month (well, most of it). It’s going to be a challenge for sure, but to be honest I’ve been excited about the possibility of how great I’m going to feel once I’m done. I’m also hoping to be encouraged to stop certain things altogether and to cut back on everything else.

I feel like alcohol is such a huge part of having a social life. Why is that? Is it just a social norm? What do people do when they don’t drink? This is something that I had been thinking about when I decided I wanted to go a month without alcohol. I want to find better ways to fill my time, better ways to spend time with family and friends. Now, I’m saying I am going a full month but I guess I’m actually doing a bit less than that. Because of vacation schedules and holidays this year I decided to start this challenge today, January 6, instead of on January 1. However, I did take it fairly easy in between, I drank a few beers on New Year’s Eve, had wine with friends on New Year’s Day and attended a concert on January 4 where I had a couple of drinks as well. Writing this out now, it sounds like alot which makes me even more excited to cut back. The challenge will end with the Superbowl which is February 2, so all in all I’m only a couple days short of a full month.

The most difficult part of this challenge for me will be not making excuses. Someone is having a birthday party, a friend wants to go for drinks, family is coming to town – none of these should be viable reasons to stop the challenge. I want to be strong and consistent throughout the entire term mostly because I don’t want to smoke. Smoking lately has totally grossed me out UNLESS I am drinking. Drinking is the main time I want to smoke and lately has been the only time that I do. But it stinks. It’s expensive. And yes, it’s deadly. I had an epiphany recently where I woke up on my hair and it reeked of cigarettes. I immediately decided I wanted to change. This will be difficult for sure, but not as difficult as if it would be if I weren’t cutting out drinking as well.

Today is the first day of the challenge, which of course is easy. It’s Monday, I’m back at work after a long weekend off and I have no worries. I will try to continue to post daily or regular updates of how I’m doing and feeling. Like I said, this is going to be challenging, but I can’t wait to see how I feel at the end. For the rest of the year, this resolution basically just means to be better to myself. Walk more, exercise more, eat better. I feel like I made leaps and bounds with this last year, especially eating better and practically vegan, and I can’t wait to continue it for this year as well. I think another thing I’d like to really press upon myself is to wake up earlier as well and get a small yoga flow routine in in the mornings. I was doing it for a couple weeks before the holidays and felt amazing. I need to get back into the swing of waking up early – this will be one of my biggest challenges for sure. Wish me luck!

MelissaRose