Six years in the past I awakened with a foul headache assault. My mouth felt like sandpaper. So did my eyeballs. I used to be hungover.
My household and I went to lots 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 wished 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. After 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 massive of a deal. And why wasn’t I at all times consuming water from a flowery wine glass?
Then Saturday evening rolled round. I went to a bar/restaurant to satisfy some mates. After 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. Individuals had been legitimately involved about me. I shortly realized that my reasoning — a reset after the vacations — wasn’t ok for them.
To everybody else it was easy: If I wasn’t consuming, there was one thing improper with me. Did I’ve a consuming downside? What was actually occurring? And the humorous half was that folks had been nonetheless shopping for me drinks your entire time — which, once more, I politely declined — and took it personally that I wouldn’t drink them.
I left the bar early pondering that this was going to be tougher than I assumed. Perhaps everybody was proper. If I haven’t got a consuming downside and nothing’s improper 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 wished to attain 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 house and never socializing after all of the accusations from the weekend earlier than. Perhaps I ought to keep away from everybody for your entire month.
However I had an excessive amount of concern of lacking out (FOMO). I dwell in Michigan surrounded by household and mates 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 other people nonetheless gave me a tough time. Some feedback had been extra hurtful than others. That I wasn’t enjoyable or nobody wished 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 a little bit bit mattered much less and fewer because the month went on.
If the primary weekend was an 8 out of 10 on the tough 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 formidable — I get after it extra — once I’m not consuming.
On the finish of the month I assumed I’d 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 figuring out that if I wished to have a Dry January, I may. And the whole lot could be simply positive.
After all, as a result of consuming’s a part of my social life, it may be exhausting to not drink in any respect for a whole month. Some years, January appears like six months (thanks Covid!)
However I do it yearly as a result of I really like the problem and I really like how I really feel once 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 once in a while.
I now like to inform those that I’m not consuming in January (typically sober September too) as a result of I feel it’s essential to remove the stigma.
I feel many ladies go into social settings with mates or through the holidays not consuming and persons are genuinely involved. They’re upset. They’re upset that you just’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 nowadays 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 exhausting 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 purpose at any time you may. You’re nonetheless enjoyable Melissa. It doesn’t matter what my mates say.
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Our Actual Ladies, Actual Tales are the genuine experiences of real-life girls. The views, opinions and experiences shared in these tales should not endorsed by HealthyWomen and don’t essentially replicate the official coverage or place of HealthyWomen.
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