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