In January of 2023, I decided to go for a month without drinking alcohol. There are many reasons why people decide to go “dry” for a month at any time of the year, but I decided to start my non-alcoholic journey on January 2nd. Some may say I cheated, but I had intentionally decided my last drink was going to be on New Year’s Day. January and February, the “Dry-uary” months, are a great time to take a hiatus from poisoning our bodies with alcohol. Whether it’s going cold turkey or cutting back, any time we intentionally reduce our liquor consumption is good.
Dry January: An entire month where one abstains from drinking alcohol.
My experience was a very positive one. I had decided to take a break as I was noticing since the Covid pandemic lockdowns I was drinking more out of habit. I didn’t like how it made me feel – which was a tired feeling. It also made me want to snack more. I had developed a habit and association between alcohol and snacking on chips or cheese and crackers. The saying, “It’s five o’clock somewhere” became a daily joke.
I found myself being less productive and I wanted a reboot. As Alberta blogger Justine Celina (justinecelina.com) said back in 2021, one of her main goals for the new year was to develop a routine that supports her well-being and ditch some of the unhealthy, pandemic-induced habits she had developed. Dry January was one of the ways she was able to work on her relationship with alcohol. Her article was inspiring.
The 30 days without alcohol was surprisingly easy for me to do. When I went out to a restaurant, I told the server I was doing a Dry January, and he brought me a delicious and refreshing “mocktail.”
Much to my surprise, during the month of January, there was a big announcement from the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, funded by Health Canada, providing guidance that consuming more than two drinks per week constituted a moderate health risk due to evidence linking alcohol to cancer. What timing! This gave me even more reason to cut back on my drinking.
Self-Care 101 – Commit to a Sober Month and Reboot Your Relationship with Alcohol
I found a “Dry January 2023” Facebook Group managed by Mari Wuellner and Molly Fitterer, hosts of “Don’t Take It From Us” podcast, and they had some great prompts to get us sharing about our experiences. There were about 266 members in the group. At the end there were about a dozen women who were commenting that we were very thankful to Mari and Molly for creating and managing the group. Listen to their podcast on Dry January (language and mature content warning!) – https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/10-dry-january-against-our-better-judgment-a-31-day/id1652379998?i=1000590605166
I could totally relate to Justine Celina’s comment, “Ditching alcohol reminded me just how focused and productive I can be, and how effectively I can manage my time!” (https://www.justinecelina.com/my-dry-january-experience/)
I am glad I chose to start this new year on the right path. It was easy to do, especially after all the holiday festivities of dining, snacking, and drinking. Lots of people make a pact with themselves to do a reboot whether it be a New Year’s resolution or just a commitment to live the happiest and healthiest life possible in the wake of a new year. I am glad I was successful in my mission.
After this experience of being alcohol-free for a month, I am happy to say I have found myself again! I have more energy and started exercising again. I feel more productive. I feel like I am in control. Self-care is so important to me and alcohol was getting in the way. Plus, I can only guess how much money I am saving. Dining out certainly costs a lot less when there are no alcoholic drinks on the bill!
I am not sure when my next drink will be, but I sure won’t be drinking as often as I was. I feel much better having a bubbly drink made with my new SodaStream (I bought it on January 8) or a nice herbal tea. Sometimes I indulge in a Pepsi! I am also looking forward to checking out the new Sobr Market non-alcoholic beverage store in Winnipeg (thesobrmarket.com).
If you are thinking about doing a “dry month,” I would highly recommend it. It’s a great way to reset your relationship with alcohol and to put yourself first. And you may be pleasantly surprised!
Angela G. Gentile, MSW, RSW
2 thoughts on “Dry January – Resetting My Relationship with Alcohol”
To always be aware of ourselves & the benefits of self-evaluating in order to improve our mental & physical well being is so important. Equally important is having the willpower, which may include finding support to assist us, in order to make positive moving forward actual changes in order to enhance the quality of our lives. The road to accomplishing this can be onerous & seemingly impossible or it can be quite easy. Enabling ourselves, or stated another way, giving ourselves permission to make personal changes can be cathartic in itself. The results can be viewed as being the “bonus”.
Dear Anonymous – We definitely need support and willpower to succeed in making changes in our drinking habits! Thanks for reading and commenting.