So it seems like everyone and their mother did the Dry January challenge where for the entire month of January you abstain from drinking alcohol. The general feedback that I’ve been seeing has been mostly the positive; everyone is acting like it was a month of enlightenment and rainbows. Well I’m here to tell you personally that I was COUNTING DOWN THE DAYS.
But I’m here to keep it real. I had a rough month with the Dry January challenge and I might be the only one willing to admit that. So let’s get this straight right off the bat – I’m not an alcoholic. By any means. I was happy and freely giving up alcohol for the month of January with no epic withdrawals or stress. I did it as a challenge to see if I could. My competitive spirit and stubbornness wanted to see and feel what all the dry January hype was about.
Dry January – Did It Live Up To The Hype?
Some of the benefits of the Dry January Challenge that I read about are somewhat true, and other simply did not pan out for me. For instance, I learned that what I thought was a hangover is sometimes just dehydration. I would wake up some mornings feeling hungover when I obviously hadn’t had any drinks the night before. On a positive note, it made me realize that I need a water bottle next to my bed every night.
I didn’t wake up chipper and focused every morning. I was still crawling out of bed and zombie walking to the coffee machine. As much as as I willed it, I wasn’t more productive or more focused than usual. Nor did I feel like a cloud was lifted off my brain where I was suddenly able to recall the names of people I went to preschool with.
I also didn’t lose an ounce. I thought that cutting out alcohol would significantly reduce my calories so I would lose some weight, but that didn’t happen.
There is a plus – I did save a lot of money on drinks, though! Hopping from bar to bar really adds up.
Reasons Why Dry January Was Hard
Some people made it look easy as pie, but it is actually really hard to give up alcohol for a variety of different reasons.
It Is Uncomfortable
I learned how hard restaurants and waiters push drinks – some will persistently keep trying until you say “no absolutely not tonight.” I never realized how uncomfortable that must be for recovering alcoholics, pregnant women, or people who just simply don’t feel like drinking tonight. It almost made me feel guilty not ordering a drink! I know that sounds totally strange.
Lack Of Variety
Second, I really missed the variety. I love beverages of all kinds (not just alcoholic ones) so taking wine out of the mix left me with coffee, tea, and water. I probably drank a case of La Croix a week all by myself just to feel like I was having a variety of beverages.
It Made Me Anti-Social
Third, my social life suffered. I just moved to a new city and part of the fun of that is exploring different spots. A lot of times I found myself skipping out on trying a new place because it felt rude to order water, and there’s only so much food I can eat. Going to a restaurant with the BEST pisco sour in the city and not being able to order one was such a downer. Plus, I love beverages and tastes and trying new things. Yes I know I could try a virgin cocktail – which I did one evening at a comedy club. But it was awful.
I was in bed every night by 10pm because I put off making plans with friends. This isn’t completely my fault – some friends (ones that did dry January and others that didn’t) said “oh lets go here and there when you can drink again.” But in an attempt to avoid the bar scene I mostly resigned to chillin’ at home with my shows.
I Have Self Control
Finally, I’m a stubborn girl who likes to do what I want, when I want. I think that I am thoughtful and intentional in my actions, and drinking alcohol is no exception. I work out regularly (my chiropractor is making me dial it down…that story is for anther day haha), work all day at my law job, spend long hours on my beloved blog, and take care of my husband and kitties (I’m considering hiring a maid good riddance). So when I want to relax with a glass of wine while watching Top Chef on a Thursday – I’m gonna do it with zero guilt.
I like to think that I am a responsible adult who won’t rage when they have to run a 5K the next morning. A bad day isn’t followed by going nuts and drinking a whole bottle of wine. I like the taste of alcohol and enjoy the variety it brings to food and life. The choice to drink is my freedom, and I don’t need a month-long challenge to prove that I can say no to a drink.
Could I go another month of Dry January? Yea sure. Would I want to do it again for absolutely no reason other than a personal challenge? No thanks.
Currently Sipping: Rosa Obscura red blend via WINC
Well done dear! This is simply beautiful. I don’t drink a lot, but I don’t think I’ve ever imagined going alcohol-free for an entire month. Wishing you all the best!
Jessica | notjessfashion.com
I know people who do it and honestly I’m not sure why. I don’t drink a ton, but I do love having a glass of wine or a whiskey sour or something. I don’t think I would find enlightenment in doing this, but I have a lot of respect for you and other who do this! Thanks for your honesty because sometimes I think people say things just because….
Elegant Duchess says
Well done for doing dry January but I can only imagine how hard it is. It’s like the second I tell myself not to do something and I actually want it even more! xx
Carrie @ Curly Crafty Mom says
No alcohol for a month? I’m not sure I could do that. I don’t drink a lot, but I do like to enjoy a glass of wine or two on the weekend. 🙂 It sounds like you take pretty good care of yourself. My husband just got a maid for me that comes every other week and I LOVE it. So worth it. You should get one!
It was tough! Like you, I don’t go overboard. Having a maid would be like Christmas every other week.
Ankita Bardhan says
This sounds bit tough still fun! But hey, new experiences always feel this way, don’t they? Glad you stuck with it though 🙂
Thanks so much, Ankita!
Loved this post!! And, I relate so much… sitting down to drink a glass of wine while watching Top Chef with no guilt after a full day!! Amen, sistah!
That is so my speed. Thanks Courtney!
Cait Calabria says
Great piece!!! Proud of you for doing dry January! Everything is about moderation! I love me a good red blend on a cold, winter night!
Nothing better than some Apothic red blend! Thanks doll!
Good for you for sticking with it! I know a bunch of people who tried it, some failed a few days in and others made it the whole month and had the same thoughts as you. Love the honesty in this post Roxanne!
Thank you Elise!
Susan Rahamim says
Thanks for the honest report. Glad you tried it as a personal experience and challenge!
Thank you! It was definitely an experience.
I’m so impressed that you did this Roxanne! I suppose I could do it too, if I really needed to, but it is such a fun social activity. And everything in moderation, right??
I agree, Jodie! I feel in control of my actions and I trust myself to make decisions. I’m excited to try some new places this weekend.
It is true, people in life ave been eat/drink things, as if your choice to abstain from alchohol/sugar/whatever is an affront! The choice of what to put into ones body ought to be quite personal 😮
I agree! I don’t feel like I have to give up something entirely to feel good.
Yes to all of this. I feel much the same way. I don’t drink a lot but if I want to unwind with a glass of wine with my hubby I can and I will. I was really interested in your restaurant observation as I haven’t experienced that here but then again my nightlife is pretty limited ????????????.
I totally agree! You also have children, so I can’t imagine giving up your wine. At one particular restaurant the waiter left the drink menu on the table “just in case” even though we clearly said no thanks. Then he brought out the actual BOTTLES of after dinner drinks in case we had suddenly changed our minds.