Week two complete. I’ve heard it said this week is the point at which committments made at new year often go by the wayside, initial enthusiasm tempered by the slow attrition of passing time and the general winter grimness of mid-January. I can attest to this and have found this week a bit more difficult as I suspected I might. Forewared is forarmed, though, and I’ve not seriously considered taking a drink.

But drinking has been in my thoughts more than I’m entirely comfortable with. It’s as if one part of me is trying to undermine my resolve to stick to the committment I made to another part. I’m not sure how I feel about this; is it just the part of me that’s prone to self-sabotage or something more insidious? I was struck briefly by anxiety when reviewing my calendar and I realised that my next on-call shift starts on the 31st January, meaning that even after my committment to complete sobriety expires there will be at least another week of it afterwards. But what’s another week really, and why would this make me anxious?

This assessment of feelings and thoughts about one’s relationship with alcohol are one of the reasons for doing the exercise - both Dry January itself and the act of writing about it each week. It’s not just taking a month off drinking so that you can say to yourself you can do it before going back to previous bad habits, but an opportunity to reflect and think about how you react to the experience physically, emotionally and intellectually. This is all useful information for thinking about and making decisions over what comes next.

Despite occasional moments of self-doubt I’m feeling pretty good, pleased that I’ve got to this halfway point and I’m confident that I’ll make it to the end of the month (and the extra week). My first real challenge will fall next weekend when I’m due to go out for a meal to celebrate a friend’s 50th birthday… but I’m looking forward to doing that sober. Even if I’m tempted I’m confident that between my own resolve to stick to the plan and the additional accontability of writing about it publicly I’ll see it through. Watch this space.