Community 19 Days into Dry January, So What?

    19 Days into Dry January, So What?

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    The other day a therapist asked me, when I was bragging about Dry January, what my plan was for February 1. It was a great question. I was planning to party. I guess that’s probably what she assumed and made me reconsider my approach: Dry January has certainly been a great exercise in restraint. I’m going to sleep early, waking up early, and running a lot and doing push ups everyday. Basically acting in complete restraint of my id. I feel good. But if it won’t last, is there even a point?

    I think there is a point to Dry January and I think it’s to reconsider our relationship with alcohol. It’s amazing how things that are habit forming can be used for good or for ill. Not that I consider drinking beer or eating edibles, per say, something horrible, just in my own life I’ve caught myself twice saying I was looking forward to a chance to over-imbibe. A friend said she couldn’t give up her Saturday afternoon cocktail. I said it wasn’t a single drink I was missing. It was 14. (And not that I would sit down and consume 14 beers in one setting but the idea was, I think: I was missing letting go and associated that with drinking).

    19 Days into Dry January, so what? I’m exercising more and sleeping better. I go to bed and wake up early. Since it’s so cold on my runs I’m exhausted by the end of the night. This is good. Our sleep, I believe, is indicative of how we feel. It’s very hard to operate when you’re exhausted and if being alcohol-free helps you rest better, that in itself is a good reason to quit. Of course, not drinking is easier when there’s no socializing. Not seeing anyone or going anywhere makes it pretty easy to drink fizzy water. I’m also not spending very much money. Again: good things.

    Like all of us, I’ve reframed what it is to see a friend. I’ve gone on runs with a buddy, and even run with my group, even if our numbers have to be pared down. Both of these activities have sparked joy. And both helped me sleep afterwards. With two friends who aren’t runners, we’ve dressed warmly and gone on walks. These haven’t been epic occasions but rather sober-minded opportunities to catch up and reconnect. 19 Days into Dry January I don’t really think I miss booze.

    But where do people go after Dry January ends? I’ve done this before and reverted basically, I believe, back to where I was with alcohol: delighting in the opportunity to have as much as I want. Of course drinking is just like running in that moderation will always be the key. Consistency. If you want to drink forever, you can never drink too much or else you’ll have that opportunity taken away. It will no longer be healthy.

    I guess the point is that 19 Days into Dry January I’m reconsidering my relationship with alcohol, and that’s always a good thing to do. It’s probably healthy to reconsider all of your relationships, including your relationship with running: are you enjoying it as much as you once did? Is there anything you need to change? Consider your own choices and free will and what you might try to shake your life up. Everything we do is a choice, whether it’s a beer or a run, so try and remain conscious. Nineteen days into my annual experiment I at least feel awake.

    4 COMMENTS

    1. Great article Ben! I didn’t do a dry January this year I have been dry since January 2018. Funny tho’ I drank all of January 2018 and my last drink was January 29th (I think). Anyway, for me, it was the best decision I ever made. Alcohol was running my life. That is the greatest question when you are reviewing your relationship with alcohol. Is it a lover, a friend, an acquaintance or are you co-dependent? All great observations. For anyone wanting to totally quit and need to talk about it I am always open to the conversation. #breakingstibah #dancynadventures

    2. this is a nice note and thanks for writing, long time no talk. its funny, picking up my kid, on my way to the school, i was thinking: god, a drink would be nice tonight. but i think thats because i didn’t sleep well last night, and im not having one. instead im going on my run. still there will come a time when ill have that next drink. the trick is just not having too many of them when that time comes.

    3. Ben – I dropped you an email about this article. On the one hand, it’s great that you’re thinking about your relationship to alcohol. On the other, the information you post, such as “alcohol in moderation being healthy” is completely inaccurate – disappointing to see that posted without doing a bit of research first.

    4. hey thanks for this, i just read your note and appreciate it. just thinking about a good response but definitely appreciate your taking the time to read and comment on this important topic. there will be more to come.

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