My Accidental Dry JanuaryWednesday, February 03, 2016
I completed Dry January. Not for charity, and not on purpose either.
I got to the 19th January and realised I hadn't had an alcoholic drink since News Year's Eve, I'd been poorly and just hadn't felt like it.
I had a cold, sore throat, cough... nothing tasted like it should. Tea tasted like dishwater, food like gravel, and wine like acid.
So I just continued not drinking, to see if I could. Turns out I can.
Do I feel better? I can't say I've seen a discernible difference.
Did I lose weight? Nope.
More energy? Not really.
Clearer skin? Sadly, no.
More money? Andy buys the wine...
What can I say about my alcohol free month?
I've learnt that I can live without my nightly glass of red.
I can say I'm less sleepy of an evening, I'm staying up later.
What I used to think of as 'slightly hungover' has just turned out to be me really not being much of a morning person.
There were times when I thought a cold, crisp G&T would be just the thing, but it was fleeting. I'd call it a thought rather than a craving.
How long will this last? I have no idea. But I can say that this accidental Dry January of mine has raised some questions for me.
I've had my fair share of nights out that ended in passing out rather than going to sleep, waking with a monster hangover and no memory of most of the previous evening. But it's not just about nights like that. It's the one or two (or more) glasses of wine I had every night. The ones I drank without even really noticing. The habit drinking.
I could drink red wine all night, any night of the week - most nights of the week - and not give it a second thought.
I'm sounding like a reformed smoker who moans about the smell of smoke.
Perhaps I'll continue and make it a 'dry winter', perhaps I'll have the odd glass of wine or a G&T on occasion, but I do think my days of drinking almost every night are gone. So whilst I see no discernible difference physically, I do feel different emotionally.
When it comes to social drinking, I have to admit, I've wondered how I'll 'get away' with not drinking on a night out. Living in a rural area means I can easily use the excuse of driving, but also I'm a little nervous at the thought of socialising without alcohol.
My ideal would be to have one or two and move on to soft drinks. But if I have one, I'll always be encouraged to have another, and I'm the first to admit that I don't need an awful lot of encouragement! Switching to soft drinks before the night is over will be hard.
Someone once said to me, in a throw away comment, not meaning to be hurtful, that 'you're no fun when you're not drinking'. This wiggled in under my subconscious and stayed there.
If I'm honest, I do feel more relaxed when I've had a drink, I'm chattier, but of course being relaxed and chatty often turns in to being utterly shitfaced. Clearly I don't know my limits, or if I do I'm past the point of caring by the time I get there.
I am a quiet person in comparison to my drinking alter ego, perhaps I'm not as much fun. I'm definitely not as loud or talkative, but I'm still me.
My relationship with alcohol feels like it has changed during January. I really don't think I'll fall back into the habit of drinking every night, and I honestly say that I don't want to ever get completely blotto ever again, but the real test will be on my next night out, when someone says 'oh go on, have another one'.
Worth a read - Article by Judith Woods in the Telegraph about her experience of Dry January.