I’m going to do Dry January
this next year. Over the past months (years, now 😭) of the Covid pandemic I’ve slipped into bad habits and have, at times, been drinking more than I’m comfortable with.
Some context. I’m a British Gen Xer; regular drinking is normalised for my cohort, almost to the extent that abstinence or moderate drinking can seem weird. This is not healthy and I’m conscious that as a result by the time someone like me starts to feel uncomfortable with their drinking, it’s probably way over what’s actually healthy by any objective measure.
That’s not to say I’m a falling-down-drunk alcoholic mess. I’m not; I don’t drink every day and generally not on weeknights, although this has ebbed and flowed somewhat over the past months of the pandemic. But when I do drink I tend to have a few and I don’t want to do is sleepwalk into an even less healthy relationship with alcohol, hence a reset and Dry January seems like as good a time for this as any.
There’s also the community aspect. Lots of other folks stop drinking in January so there’s a ready-made group of people out there for solidarity and support. Drinking is so ingrained in mainstream British culture that abstaining, even for a limited period, can be hard. There’s FOMO, cultural pressure and the background trickle of psychological withdrawal symptoms that I suspect most regular drinkers suffer, even if they aren’t prepared to acknowledge them for what they are. I’ve done this before and I know that after a week or two the initial motivation can drop, often as the incremental improvements to mood, sleep quality, etc, that abstinence brings kick in. So a supportive community is a plus. I know at least one other person who has said that they are going to do Dry January this year, so that’s a start and I think I’ll ask around to see who else might be.
Hence also this post. Some public accountability always helps, so I’m going to post at least one follow-up a week throughout January. This is not a New Year’s Resolution, to be clear. If it was, I’d have built-in permission to abandon it within a few days 😬
But right now, it’s New Year’s Eve and still December 2021 until I wake up tomorrow 🍻