I attempted Dry January a number of times. I only completed it once, I was being sponsored, so I couldn’t really not do it! So if you’ve managed to do it, well done! You should be proud of yourself. It’s a really difficult thing to do in a normal January let alone one where you find yourself confined to your house because of a global pandemic. As with everything though there is always a positive to come out of negative experiences. At least you didn’t have to sit in a pub sipping orange juice while your friends downed your favourite wine.
So what now? You’ve probably started to feel like you have more energy in the last week and generally feel more alive! Your sleep, after a rocky start has settled and you now sleep like a baby, but with the most crazy, vivid dreams! Your skin is looking clearer and brighter. You may have lost some weight (if you didn’t supress your cravings with cake)!
So what do you do? The way I see it, there are two options!
Return to your previous habits and routines and slowly but surely allow alcohol to take centre stage in your life again. Reassure yourself that you’ve done a month without alcohol so you can’t have a problem. Trust yourself to be able to stop drinking after 2 glasses. Convince yourself that nights out won’t be as fun without a drink. Tell yourself that living an alcohol free life is not a viable, needed or wanted lifestyle option for you right now. You don’t want to be a ‘sober’ person. They’re boring (even though you feel so much more alive at the end of this month than you have done in years). I know these thoughts because I thought them. I know these feelings because I felt them. Option 1 is a recurring nightmare, like being stuck on a roundabout of shame and frustration.
You embrace your new found freedom. You celebrate the silence in your mind (no more ping pong brain debating whether you’ll drink later). You build on the self-respect you have started to gain (which won’t be lost waking up in the morning with the all too familiar feeling of hangxiety). You strengthen yourself physically and mentally through practising self-care. You start to dream for the first time in years.
Anyone who thinks getting sober is simply a matter of quitting drinking, has never done it. Change is scary and uncomfortable. But it’s also exciting. Step outside your comfort zone and realise the life you are meant to live. I am so grateful I eventually chose option 2. I’m just gutted it took me so long.