What Happens When I Give Up Drinking For A Whole Year?

My second Dry January is just around the corner and I’m looking forward to it. But it also made me wonder if I could go dry for a few more months or even an entire year? And, more importantly, would I want to.

What’s hard about not drinking?

For me, it’s how it might impact my social life. Having a glass of wine or a cocktail goes hand in hand with most of my get-togethers.

That said when this year’s Dry January ended I did not revert to drinking at anywhere near the same level. And my friends, wonderful people that they are, totally support my not drinking which is very cool.

I drink about 50% less now than I did before my first Dry January earlier this year. That’s in great part because I now rarely drink at parties or at dinners where wine is poured freely. Experience has taught me that’s where the worst damage gets done. On the other hand, ordering a bottle of wine or two at a restaurant is a much more mindful experience. That’s the kind of limited wine consumption I see in my future.

What was the first dry january like?

When I first started Dry January in 2019, it took me about a week to notice the results.

But it was major. Everything was better, from how I slept to the effects of my osteoarthritis (alcohol causes inflammation). Waking up without a hangover also has to be about the most wonderful feeling ever.

Since 2019’s Dry January worked so well, I am considering upping the ante for 2020.

Scroll down to see what i’ve got in mind
Can I – should I – extend Dry January?

In preparing to write this post about 2020’s Dry January, the idea of extending the dry spell through February kept nagging at me.

Before long, I found myself thinking “why not challenge myself to go dry for all of 2020?” That would really kick off the new decade in a big way!

I was like a dog with a bone. thinking about it non-stop.

My first concern was whether I could actually pull it off.

Then a second, more important thought came along. Would I actually want to do this? Because I fear that if I gave up drinking for a year, I would probably not return to it.

And drinking, for me, is not about getting wasted. It’s about savoring (both visually and with my tastebuds) those beautiful rich Italian Barolos and so many fabulous cocktails (two current favorites are the espresso martini and the penicillin).

Drinking as I’ve stated before is central to my social life. Of course, I can enjoy my friends’ company over a glass of sparkling water but it’s not quite the same. And don’t get me started on mocktails – I think they are an abomination.

On the other hand, there is something extremely convivial about studying the wine list together and picking out a wine to share over dinner.

However, and this is where it gets tricky. Once I start drinking in a highly social setting, it’s hard to put the brakes on.

And that’s why I am embracing dry january again

In 2019 I did it because I felt too much of my social life revolved around drinking and I increasingly became aware of how shitty it made me feel when I consumed too much alcohol. Nursing a hangover is not the way I want to start any day, let alone most days.

I don’t think there was one particular occasion that triggered my commitment to going “dry.” But I was reading a lot about Dry January and the sober-curious trend. The non-drinkers piqued my curiosity.

Dry January gave me a legitimate excuse to turn away from drinking

Not drinking, especially at a restaurant, was completely permissible when I could say, “oh no I’m doing Dry January.

Bottom Line.

I’ll keep you posted on how January goes and whether I opt to extend into February. I’ll be traveling most of that month and I’m not sure if that will make it easier or more difficult to go the dry route. I have a feeling it might be easier.

But, shockingly, what I’m most afraid of is that if I go dry for two months, I will give up drinking altogether and that seems horrible to me. It would be akin to giving up a favorite food, like deciding I would no longer eat delicious cheeses or never again treat myself to chocolate.

So who knows where the end of January will lead but rest assured you’ll know as soon as I do 🤷‍♀️😳🤷‍♀️

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