Six years in the past I wakened with a nasty headache assault. My mouth felt like sandpaper. So did my eyeballs. I used to be hungover.
My household and I went to quite a lot of events that vacation season — I’m not complaining — however round New 12 months’s Eve I used to be craving a reset.
So I made a decision to surrender consuming in January.
Again then, I didn’t know Dry January was a factor. Nobody in my social circle or household had ever talked about it. Giving up alcohol for the month was simply one thing I needed to strive for myself. The vacations had been over, the youngsters had been going again to highschool and it was time to get again to the grind.
The primary 5 days with zero alcohol had been OK. Once I instinctively reached for a glass of wine whereas making dinner, I poured flavored water within the glass. It wasn’t the identical, however not that huge of a deal. And why wasn’t I at all times consuming water from a elaborate wine glass?
Then Saturday evening rolled round. I went to a bar/restaurant to satisfy some pals. Once I politely turned down a drink, the cheerful gathering felt extra like an interrogation.
“Are you pregnant?”
“Are you sick?”
“Are you pregnant … and sick?”
I used to be shocked by the depth of the reactions. Folks had been legitimately involved about me. I rapidly realized that my reasoning — a reset after the vacations — wasn’t adequate for them.
To everybody else it was easy: If I wasn’t consuming, there was one thing unsuitable with me. Did I’ve a consuming downside? What was actually taking place? And the humorous half was that individuals had been nonetheless shopping for me drinks all the time — which, once more, I politely declined — and took it personally that I wouldn’t drink them.
I left the bar early considering that this was going to be more durable than I assumed. Possibly everybody was proper. If I haven’t got a consuming downside and nothing’s unsuitable with me, why am I doing this?
Then I remembered: I used to be doing this for me. I wasn’t doing it for anybody else. I set a aim and needed to realize it for myself.
Melissa and her children
With my aim in focus, week two was simpler than the primary one. It felt good to get up with a transparent head and extra power. When Saturday rolled round I considered simply staying dwelling and never socializing after all of the accusations from the weekend earlier than. Possibly I ought to keep away from everybody for all the month.
However I had an excessive amount of worry of lacking out (FOMO). I reside in Michigan surrounded by household and pals and there’s at all times one thing enjoyable occurring. So I went out, ordered soda water and began to discover ways to socialize when everybody else was consuming.
I nonetheless felt awkward at instances and folks nonetheless gave me a tough time. Some feedback had been extra hurtful than others. That I wasn’t enjoyable or nobody needed to be round me if I wasn’t consuming. I reminded them that I’m nonetheless the identical individual. I’m nonetheless enjoyable. However what folks considered me being sober for somewhat bit mattered much less and fewer because the month went on.
If the primary weekend was an 8 out of 10 on the troublesome scale, the third weekend was a 2. I used to be happy with myself. And I felt stronger. I train most days of the week however I discovered I’m extra bold — I get after it extra — after I’m not consuming.
On the finish of the month I assumed I might be excited to exit and have a drink or a glass of wine. However by that point it actually didn’t matter to me. I felt good understanding that if I needed to have a Dry January, I might. And all the things could be simply high quality.
In fact, as a result of consuming’s a part of my social life, it may be arduous to not drink in any respect for a complete month. Some years, January looks like six months (thanks Covid!)
However I do it yearly as a result of I like the problem and I like how I really feel after I can accomplish a aim I set for myself. And I do know it’s good for my psychological well being and my physique to take a break from time to time.
I now like to inform those who I’m not consuming in January (typically sober September too) as a result of I believe it’s necessary to remove the stigma.
I believe many ladies go into social settings with pals or through the holidays not consuming and persons are genuinely involved. They’re upset. They’re disillusioned that you simply’re not consuming. Such as you’re not the identical individual. Like, boo, Melissa, you’re no enjoyable. And that hurts.
With extra folks embracing Dry January today I hope there continues to be extra positivity and extra alternative to speak about it with out judgment or leaping to conclusions (nonetheless not pregnant guys!).
I do know it may be arduous to not drink when everybody round you is pressuring you to do it. However if you wish to do Dry January or flip down a drink for any cause at any time you possibly can. You’re nonetheless enjoyable Melissa. It doesn’t matter what my pals say.
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Our Actual Girls, Actual Tales are the genuine experiences of real-life girls. The views, opinions and experiences shared in these tales usually are not endorsed by HealthyWomen and don’t essentially mirror the official coverage or place of HealthyWomen.
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