What I Learned in (Mostly) Dry January

Oh, why, hello there. Happy 2018.

The end of 2017 was quite the whirlwind, filled with dating, travels to LA and New York, visiting the family in California for Christmas, and hosting a New Year’s Eve Party. I ate at some incredible places including Gjusta and Gjelina in Venice – the only reasons I stayed there for a night, which was totally worth it; cooked some classics like filet minon on Christmas night and cheese fondue for New Years (now a three year tradition); and experienced lots of new things: attending a black tie gala in NYC, going to my first Bronco’s game, glass blowing, and infinity mirrors at The Broad. See, I told you it was a whirlwind.

After all this I did feel like I needed a little reset, so like many other young people out there I embarked on an effort to have a dry a.k.a. no drinking January. I attempted this a couple of years ago, then was laid off from my job and hopped right off the wagon. Fun fact: when it comes to drinking ‘on the wagon’ means NOT drinking, ‘off the wagon’ means you’re hitting the bottle.

So the results. I made it to Jan 12 without any sip of alcohol. Easy peasy, also a lot easier when you’ve enlisted your partner and friends to not drink with you. This turned into visiting friends at their houses to catch up over tea and sparkling water rather than a juicy glass of red. I allowed myself a cheat night two weeks in while attending a 35th birthday dinner at a steak house – you can’t have a great steak without a nice glass of red wine! Come the 3rd weekend though, I decided to hop off the wagon, within reason, for a few of days. One glass of wine at dinner on Thursday, one margarita on Friday night, sharing a beer while skiing on Saturday and a few drinks post skiing. It may not sound like much of a dry month, but believe you me it has been. I’ve only got a few days left and may have another cheat day or two, but I feel like the lessons have been learned, so here we go!

1) One glass of wine is fine! The biggest take away from this whole adventure is that in many cases it’s just as nice to have only one alcoholic beverage. It is not uncommon for me to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine (or three) in an evening out, but it’s actually a nice change of pace to order one glass and really savor it. At the steak dinner I started my meal with a mocktail, which still felt like a treat, and saved my booze for the meal and sipped it slowly. Still enjoyed it, felt fulfilled and that I had treated myself to something special.

2) Money Money Money – You know it, but you don’t quite realize when you’re doing it all the time, but drinking is EXPENSIVE!! In conjunction with the no drinking January I also implemented a “no superfluous spending” effort as well. These two actually go well together, booze is expensive itself and ubers add up, but if you’re not drinking you can drive and save on both accounts. I’m estimating saving at least $250 in a month without drinking! All in all I’m loving having the cash back and thinking twice before buying the second $15 glass of wine, or the new cat bed that my cat really doesn’t need. I think after this month, I may try to implement happy hour at home, or have people a little more often – entertaining is a bit of a lost art and I want to bring it back!

3) I like my wine, and that’s OK – The last realization that I have is that I do in fact really enjoy my glass of wine at the end of the day. I think this exercise is a good reminder that I don’t really need it, or two glasses of it, but drinking in moderation is not going to kill you. And if you’ve got the bottle at home, it’s going to save you some pennies too.

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One thought on “What I Learned in (Mostly) Dry January

  1. I’ve just completed my first Dry January and feel so much better for it, still not had a drink, but with Valentine’s Day looming, I might just give in to temptation. I’ve tried glass-blowing too, I made a beautiful Christmas bauble that gets unwrapped every year and put on display, and brings back memories of a special day.

    Liked by 1 person

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