Tag Archives: dry january

Of Temptation and Dry January

Dry January, a 31 day period of abstaining from drinking alcoholic beverages and a hell of a test of will power on my part. I started Dry January early this year, December 26th to be specific. I knew this meant a dry New Year’s Eve, and I didn’t think that would be too much of an issue. In reality it wasn’t an issue for me as the new year came and went, with only a small longing for a cocktail. It did impact my plans as I avoided parties and places where I might be tempted.

The reality of it is, I’ve wanted a drink just about every night. Some nights have been harder than others. Last Saturday was the most interesting. More than anything I craved the hit at the back of the tongue that comes when the carbonation of a beer hits the top of your throat. It wasn’t the booze, or the drunk that I desired it was the mouth feel.

In reality Dry January could not have come at a better time for me. There is a lot going on in my life and the haziness that alcohol can bring to the decision making process is not needed around my life. We are 11 days into it, a full 1/3 of the way through. I’ve got great support this year in a couple of partners who are doing this with me and I’ve needed it, and they’ve needed me. The next big hurdle is the National Western Stock Show in Denver next week and two great concerts at night. I’ll get through it and I’ll get through January.

 

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Welcome back Dry January

I can’t believe its been almost a year since the last Dry January experiment. To recap, you can see the thread of posts here, but in short I went 31 days without drinking, saved well over $100 in beer and alcohol purchases and lost 9.5 pounds. This year we are going to do it again. I’ve already got one person who is joining with me in skipping the booze for 31 days and a lot of people who have asked me about it, but are not willing to set aside drinking during January. If you’d like to join in, I welcome you to help be my support group, and I’ll do the same for you.

This year Dry January starts early, in fact as I write this today, I’m already on day three of the quest. (10% done already!). I’m also back on pace, tracking my food in MyFitness Pal, and hoping that finally I can see that scale break the 200 mark for the first time in forever (I’ve gotten close!) I’m starting early as I’ve got a trip at the end of January on the 30th and 31st, which I’m not going to deprive myself of drinking. So, as to not set myself up for failure, I’m starting early this year to make sure I get the 31 days in.

Last year’s Dry January fit perfect between New Year’s Day and the Superbowl. This year, because of the schedule change, New Year’s Eve is part of my timeline. I’m ok with that. I drank my fair share over Christmas, and since I’ve come to regard NYE as amateur hour, I hope to be in bed by 10. Plus I’m smoking a pork butt that night for a get together the next day, and I’ll use the down time to keep an eye on the smoker. I also will have to contend with a couple of days at the National Western Stock Show and a couple of concerts in January, but those challenges are what makes resetting my relationship with alcohol rewarding at the end of the day.

I’ll keep you informed of my progress as the month wears on. Thanks in advance for the support that you showed last year and I know you will show again this year.

What Happened?

I’ll start this out with an apology. I’ve been derelict in writing this blog for about 5 months now. In fact I’ve put it totally on the back burner since Cheyenne Frontier Days. I’m not sure what happened, other than work has been incredibly busy and my time to update things has gotten small.  Taking up backpacking became a passion of mine this summer and that led to less time for writing too.

So, what have I been up to? I’ve added a few more breweries to the brew log. From Eagle Colorado to Rapid City, SD I’ve been hitting sports throughout the west and drinking a lot of great beer.

The smoker has been on high all summer long. I smoked a couple of Cornish game hens last weekend, I’ve smoked jerky, ribs, chicken and pork. I enjoy the smoker more than the grill in a lot of cases.

I took up backpacking and enjoyed the wonders of freeze dried meals at 10,000 feet overlooking alpine lakes and staring up at more stars than you can count.

I do feel its time to get back on the blog band wagon. Dry January is going to happen again and we will chronicle the trials and tribulations that come with that. I’ve got a lot of photos and stories from the summer. I want to redesign the blog and make a few changes to the look and feel and there is a new name in the works as well, so stay tuned over the next few weeks as we get this rolling again.

Dry January Recap

January came to a close on Saturday and with it, my 31 day hiatus from drinking anything alcohol related. It was certainly an interesting experience and one that I will definitely look to replicate in the future. Interestingly enough, on Saturday I came across this Men’s Health article which was the genesis of my dry January experience. It is a good read and I probably could have written most of it myself as we had very similar experiences.

thermo.phpToday is groundhog day, and yes I enjoyed some adult beverages during the Super Bowl yesterday. Happily, I do write this with a clear head that is hangover free.

After not drinking for the entire month of January, there are some real takeaways. I lost 9.5 pounds during the month. I don’t give Dry January all of the credit, because I kept to a pretty strict 1940 calorie a day diet, ran nearly 60 miles and had also packed almost the same amount during the holidays, but I do know that it was was easier to end the day with extra calories when I wasn’t adding 300-500 calories of alcohol to my diet.

I have a better grasp on why I drink. I’ve always had a personality that gets easily frustrated with projects, and oftentimes when I walk away and then come back to it, it brings a fresh set of eyes and success to the project. This month has been very similar to that. You tend to get in a rut in life. You drink three beers because it is Friday, it doesn’t matter what you are doing, who you are doing it with or if you need them, you just do it. After purposely not drinking for 31 days I am finding that I have a greater self awareness about when, why and how much I’m drinking. It is truly a new perspective.

I am not dependent on alcohol. I wasn’t concerned about this, yet it is a relief to know that I’m not in denial about a dependency. That being said, I have a tendency to abuse alcohol. If I can’t blame dependency I can only blame poor choices when I drink too much. This is part of the greater awareness issue, and I’m interested to see how I continue to handle it going forward.

It is not a bad thing for people to see me out without a drink in my hand. I have career aspirations and Cheyenne is the biggest small town I’ve ever lived in. Several times in the course of the month people commented on my drinking soda in an alcohol environment, this experiment helped plant the seed that Jim isn’t always drinking, which is an important lesson that will for sure benefit me going forward.

Finally, my tally of dollars saved over the course of the month of January comes to roughly $100. It is hard to know for sure, but I feel like that is a fairly legitimate number. I’ll be cutting a check to the Rotary Foundation of Cheyenne for $100. They do great work on the local level and are trying to build their endowment so they can help more organizations and projects in our adopted home city.

Thank you for the support over the course of the month. The outreach and positive comments from friends, family and loved ones was amazing, and as someone who sets unbelievably high expectations for himself, that support and fear of letting those people down, far outweighed any desire to have a drink in January.  I will definitely do this again, for sure in January of 2016, but maybe even sooner.

Dry January Update…It’s Almost Over

It has been 26 days since I last had a drink. Nearly four weeks of navigating various drinking opportunities and social situations. It hasn’t been easy, but wouldn’t classify it as hard either. Lately I’ve found myself both satisfied with the experiment and ready for it to be over. The feedback from everyone has been great. I really do appreciate it. However, I do feel I should clear up a few misconceptions.

thermo.phpWhen you see me post seven beers on UnTappd, or by relation Facebook, it does not mean I’ve just pounded seven beers. It usually means I’m enjoying a taster tray of two to four ounce beers at a craft brewer. It’s the best, most responsible way to get a feel for the styles and variety that a craft brewer offers.

I did not take on Dry January just to prove to myself that I could do it. I knew I could do it, I never had any doubt. My relationship with alcohol has never been one of dependence, it has been one of occasional over indulgence.

I’m not counting down to a Super Bowl binge on February 1st. I’m going to enjoy a few beers during the big game, but I have no need to go all in with it.

Last week was a fairly tame week. Looking back there were not a lot opportunities to pass on a drink. Thursday night I could have knocked a couple back while relaxing, and Friday night at the Draft Horse Show in Denver I’d have enjoyed a Colorado Native if I wasn’t abstaining. Let’s call it $10 this week in savings.