Dry January – What’s the Point?

Posted on January 6, 2023

I kicked off my annual month of abstinence on New Year’s day. Initially, I was going to do what I have done for the last two years and leave it until February. However Jennifer wrecked that with a dramatic breaking news announcement that she was done with booze for a month.

Led by the Stronger Character

Of course, I could have just said “bully for you” and let her go alcohol free whilst I waited until February. There is a slight flaw in that plan. It wouldn’t work. Being weak willed, I have to be led by someone mentally stronger than me. With the devil that dances around my head perpetually looking for trouble, failure is always an option, especially if I do things independently.

However, I also possess a degree of male pride. So, once Jennifer embarks on such things, I refuse to be reduced into a pathetic little man with no mental strength. This will be the 5th time we have become an alcohol free zone for a month and we have yet to fail. There is no doubt that, at least on my part, success is down to the little digs I would receive by caving in.

What is the Point.

Many people have asked me what point there is in not drinking during the most depressing month of the year. If you are ever going to need a drink, surely January is that month? It’s a dismal, grey and wet 31 days, with not much going for it. The counter argument is that because nothing much going on, what better time could there be to clean out the body and soul?

Let’s face it, when you have a habit like drinking and smoking, there is always an excuse to delay giving up. Weddings, funerals, birthdays, tough days at work, joy on a Friday, or misery on a Monday. They all come into play when making excuses to delay abstinence. In my case, it’s about being honest with myself.

What Good Does it do?

I would suggest that a month of abstinence is probably different for every individual. We all have different habits and physical make up. Some people drink heavily once or twice a week. Others drink lightly but on most days. I fall into the latter category. Rarely do I drink heavily because hangovers batter my soul and can leave me depressed for 48 hours. Hangovers can damage me so much, I avoid them like I dodge dog walkers looking for new friends. I had a tasty hangover at Christmas and I wanted to cry.

So, for me, it is about breaking pointless habits I have drifted back into (and the weight I have put on). A couple of glasses of wine every night, turning into a bottle, that sort of thing. What I find most interesting thing about 31 days of abstinence is that it takes me several months to drift back to old boozing habits. Then, when I am back in the swing of being a habitual drinker, it’s nearly time for abstinence again. So, for me, one month of abstinence leads a reduction in consumption well into the summer. It has also taught me that I can have a week off here or there, without much hassle. That can only be a good thing.

Could I Stop for Good?

Sometimes I do wonder what it would like to never drink again. It’s not a scenario I can imagine, despite how much cleaner I feel after a month off. I always think (wrongly) that people who give up completely have done so because they have an alcohol abuse issue. That’s really unfair of me because I have known people who gave up drinking simply because they were bored of it.

I could quite happily never have a hangover again but I like a bit of booze and I like stopping off at The George with the dog and having a swift pint. It’s nice to have a pint or two after cricket and or a few bottles of Peroni sat around a BBQ. In my opinion there is little point of denying myself a bit of pleasure just to be righteous. However, who knows? I might get bored of it, just like I got bored of wasting my days away feeling like shit.

Apple juice anyone?

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