Are you going to participate in Dry January this year? I have decided to give it a try this year.
It was January second. My daughter Stephaine and I were enjoying a nice glass of wine on a cold winter day. In mid-sip, my daughter asked me, “Mom, are you going to participate in Dry January this year?” I looked at her for several seconds while holding my wine glass, and I said, “why?”
So my first thought when being asked about withholding wine for a month was, “why” would I do this to myself? Wine has become a habit and comfort for me. I enjoy several cups of coffee in the morning, and at night, I have a couple of glasses of wine.
When Stephaine left, I thought more about her question, and I decided to do a bit of research on the subject. I found that this challenge began in 2012 by a British Charity called Alcohol Change UK to ditch the hangover, reduce the waistline, and save money.
According to the CDC, alcohol increases the risk of cancer, including breast cancer, and can increase liver disease risk. There are many other risks to alcohol consumption as well.
Many who have taken part in Dry January have stated they sleep better, have an increase in energy, have lost weight, and have better skin. Many say they have better physical health after the decrease in alcohol consumption and increased mental clarity.
I started Dry January on January fourth. On January 6th, the Capital in DC was attacked by protesters. This was my first temptation. I wanted to pop open a bottle of Chardonnay and watch the chaos occurring in our nation’s capital. I did not give in. I had a cup of mint tea instead.
It has only been 6 days since I have stopped any alcohol consumption. Have I noticed any changes? I would have to say yes. I am a bit more focused. I do sleep better, but my dreams have changed. I don’t have nightmares, but my dreams have become much more vivid and, at times, a bit uncomfortable. I guess I can look at them as a nightly adventure.
I have found that I can accomplish more than I used to. I stay up longer, and I am more focused on the task at hand.
Since I typically enjoyed about two glasses of wine every evening, I had to find a substitute. I have been drinking more tea. I have iced tea in the fridge, and on cold nights, I have been making hot tea and, on occasion, hot chocolate or chocolate milk. There are many sparkling waters to choose from to fill the gap, and there are also non-alcohol beers and wines.
One article I read said that Dry January is a bit of a self-diagnosis of how important alcohol is in a person’s life. I believe my relationship with alcohol is that of a habit. I enjoy the taste of wine and the variety of its flavors. I enjoy sipping a nice wine in the evening as the day winds down. I find comfort in this evening ritual.
My goal is to re-evaluate my relationship with wine and alcohol when February arrives. I want to adust the amount I have been drinking and become more knowledgeable about safely enjoying my love of wine without damaging my health in the process.
So if you have decided to partake in Dry January, I say good luck. I know you can do it. If you have decided not to, I say I will join you for a drink on Feb 1st:-)