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.
Today 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.