I recall hearing the concept of not drinking alcohol in the month of January several years ago from various news articles that I had read.
Often referred to as “Dry January,” the concept centers around taking the month of January off from drinking after the excesses of the holidays.
After this holiday season I began to think about taking the month off from alcohol to detox, and giving myself the opportunity to refresh my body and mind would be a great experiment. The concept of a sober January didn’t feel so foreign to me until I began to ask numerous people about the concept, which was all met with a flat, “No.”
According to the international Internet-based market research and data firm YouGov, a poll in 2019 found that one in five Americans intended to participate in dry January, which would equate to an astounding 65 million temporary abstinent drinkers during the month of January.
I have what I consider to be a pretty good relationship with alcohol. I wasn’t a young drinking prodigy believe it or not, and when I was finally 21, I began to frequent bars with friends and college classmates, and I enjoyed the socializing that came with that scene.
However, after endless occasions where I spent my last $20 at the bar I eventually grew tired of the vicious cycle of being broke, so I began to stop frequenting the bar altogether. Over time I began to enjoy my cocktails at home without the worry of getting swept up with the habit of consuming too much alcohol.
The Lancet, a weekly peer-reviewed general medical journal that is among the world’s oldest, most prestigious and best known general medical journals, published in 2018 what it called “the most comprehensive estimate of the global burden of alcohol use to date.”
The Lancet’s conclusion contradicted years of prior research and general wisdom and declared there is no safe level of drinking.
Fast forward to this past New Year’s Eve at the stroke of midnight. I did have one glass of champagne at midnight and since then I’ve been alcohol free.
What have I learned from the experience?
Well, I learned that I sleep much better without alcohol, that I feel much more rested and I am able to think more clearly.
In the end for me personally I thought cutting out one-twelfth of my yearly alcohol intake seemed like a pretty good idea. I would have the chance to save money, lose a few ounces, focus better, and blah blah blah… I fully intend to complete my dry January challenge and simply did it to test myself and learn my personal relationship with alcohol.
My intention moving forward is to drink more responsibly and to hone my ability to test my willpower. The take away lesson for me was simply testing my willpower and allowing myself to embrace a new concept and idea.
After all, that is something we all should try to do more often.