So January the 1st hit, and you were so overcome with self-loathing from all of the overindulging of Christmas and the New Year that you decided to dive headfirst into Dry January and swear off booze for a whole month.
And how did that go for you?
If you managed to stick to your convictions and saw DJ through to the 31st then well done you. But if you didn’t then that’s ok too.
Studies have shown that Dry January and its autumnal counterpart: Sober October, tend to attract people who already consider themselves to be heavier drinkers, so the odds that you managed to successfully navigate going cold turkey may not have been in your favour.
But, what’s more important than whether you completed the challenge or not, is why you decided to take it on in the first place.
My own voyage into sober curiosity started with a dry January month, which turned into two, which turned into three, but after that third month I found my enthusiasm for a life of total abstinence waning, and soon jumped back on the booze wagon.
This was a few years ago, and it would take me all that time to finally make the connection between my physical ability, mental capacity and my alcohol intake (I can be a slow learner sometimes).
But over the 5 or so years in-between the end of those three months of abstinence and the start if my fully sober curious life, my drinking habits would always be just there, at the back of my mind, niggling away at me, and I knew there was more work to be done.
The fact that you decided to participate in your month-long hiatus from the hooch is a sure-fire sign that for whatever reason, you believe that your relationship with alcohol needs to be reassessed.
So here’s my question to you:
Did you actually stop to think about why you needed to take a break from drinking in the first place?
The thing about DJ & SO is that if you spend the whole month just counting down the days to when you can drink again and planning a blinder of a bender for February/November 1st then I’m not entirely sure that you got everything out of the month that you could.
Yes, biologically speaking you have given your liver, kidneys, brain and heart a break from the constant pressure of managing your alcohol intake, but did you give your mind a break too?
By taking the time away from alcohol both, literally and figuratively, you give your brain the best chance to begin disassociating some of the deeply programmed connections between good times and alcohol, and instead allow it to enjoy a few more of the natural highs of your life.
So what should you do now that the month is over, the campaigning has stopped, and the nights out are back on?
Well this sober curious writer thinks that you should chalk it up to experience and move on; but to what?
Move on to really trying to understand yourself. Really getting to grips with why you thought it was a good idea for you to stop drinking for a little while, and what you’re going to gain from going back to your old ways versus taking a more mindful approach to your consumption.
Don’t worry if you couldn’t do the full 31 days, or if you did do them but you found it a lot harder than you thought you would. Participating in these events at all is shown to increase your sense of well-being and your belief in yourself, so take those wins and hold on to them tight.
Use them to motivate you forward into a world where your drinking habits no longer run on automation, and by the time the next sober-month comes around you might find that you no longer need to force yourself to take a break, but that you can be an inspiration for those that do.
If you’re looking for a few no/low alcohol drinks to help you ease back into the drinking season then check out the LNDM reviews channel for a whole host of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails that you can enjoy without the hangover.