I have successfully completed Dry January, and it’s been a bit of an eye-opener.
As a dyed in the wool, fully fledged binge alcoholic I thought it would be difficult or even impossible to do. But after the first week, the urge to reach for the wine at the end of the day had almost disappeared. In fact, there were only two days in the whole month that I had any cravings at all; one was a snow day when I’d had eight children all day and the other was a day filled with bad news and expense. But I resisted and managed to stay ‘dry’ for the whole of January.
So, obviously, the first of February heralded a night of boozing and schmoozing. Or, more accurately, boozing and slurring, talking shit and ultimately vomiting on my shoes.
I didn’t have enough fun to make today’s hangover worthwhile, I spent money that I would rather save, I spent an hour making myself beautiful and wore new clothes out and for what? So that I could end the evening with smeared lips and smudged eyes, shambolically staggering towards the taxi rank and trying to disguise the fact I’d just been sick in the gutter.
For a lot of people, the solution would be obvious: just don’t drink so much. But for me (and I know I’m not alone in this) there are no half measures. Once I start I usually don’t stop until all the grog is drunk or I’ve passed out. It’s a bit pathetic really.
I’m better at drinking at home, I can
mostly stick to just a couple of glasses in the evening. But my problem there is with frequency. Only drinking on the weekends used to be my goal. But then, Thursday is nearly the weekend. And on Wednesdays the Rock God goes to Wing Chun so I’ll curl up with a glass of wine and One Born Every Minute. And Tuesdays is music lesson night so I’m banished upstairs while he teaches. May as well take a glass of wine and a book up with me…
So having a purpose to sobriety (the dry January thing) was very useful. I’m very good at sticking with my principles, at least in the short-term. I boycotted Nestle successfully for years until the Chums ground me down with their pleas for Kitkats and Nesquik. I was a vegetarian for a long time until I decided that was boring. I find that having a defined purpose means I stick to my guns, and although I tend to be a bit, erm, fickle with my beliefs, I stand firm while they last.
I thought that not drinking would be hard and boring. But actually it was much easier than drinking. No guilt, no hangovers, no memory lapses. I was getting stuff done in the evenings instead of collapsing with a glass and switching off. I went out to dinner several times and it cost fifty percent less, and it turns out I can still be sociable and fun without alcohol (who knew?), and I’m probably much less annoying. Drunk me is obnoxious and repeats herself a lot. Sober me is still pretty obnoxious but at least I know when to shut the hell up. And I swear a lot less, too.
So (and I promise this isn’t just my hangover talking) I have decided that Dry January is going to extend into Dry February and beyond. Will I stick to it forever? Who knows. But for now, this is what I’m doing.
Much love, amigos xx