Dry January



I’m not an alcoholic.  I don’t think.

We don’t much like labels anyways.  There used to only be two categories of alcohol problem: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence.  Now, things are less black and white, with varying shades of gray:  alcohol use: classed as mild, moderate, or severe.

My alcohol use isn’t severe. I don’t think.

But, I asked myself the question, which made it worth looking into a little further.  What is ‘moderate usage’ anyways?  Per Canadian guidelines, moderate usage  for women is no more than 2 drinks per day, with a maximum of 10 drinks per week, and for men; no more than 3 per day with a maximum of 15 per week.  However, moderate doesn’t mean typical or normal in this case; nor is it a benchmark to determine addiction; it simply means a guideline under which you ‘should’ be able to avoid the major health risks associated with severe use. 

We won’t label anyone, but the propensity to over-indulge runs in my family. So, maybe I am more squirmy about the possibility of slipping out of control.  Maybe  I’ve personally experienced the tendency for frequent/severe use to spin a mental health condition into a cycle where a few hours of happy haze spins into more severe lows; depressed, anxious, and unproductive, – not to mention – fat.  Maybe my awareness of higher usage contributing to all the aging/illness stuff has increased – from cholesterol, blood pressure, liver issues, increased risk of dementia and heart disease, cancer…to wrinkles, liver spots, and bags under your eyes!  Grosse!

None of this truly concerns me, except that, if I’m honest, my ‘weekend use’ would technically consistently fall beyond the above noted guidelines.  That, and the fact that I’ve always been a bit of a cheap drunk, so after the suggested two drinks, my brain chatter trades off for giddy social chatter, and my impulse control goes for a major shit anyways.  Beyond those drinks, my original plans take a backseat.  Ahhh we just won’t log the next three in MyFitnessPal… That eight hours of GOOD sleep and getting up early wasn’t that important… I’ll trade tomorrow morning’s workout for my killer dance moves tonight – no problem!

It’s probably a combination of all of the above, along with a few less than ideal situations in the past year, and a curiosity… Is this a pleasure or simply a habit now? How might I feel, and what might I do ‘instead’ if I nixed the ol’ captain for awhile…

Dry January is a tradition for some people in different parts of the world, so I started looking into this -on a bit of a late start.- It’s suggested that a dry month has various benefits such as better sleep, improved digestion, weightloss, improved immune function, better looking skin, and reduced bloating. HMM You have my attention… It was also suggested that people who start the year off with a dry month may drink less throughout the rest of the year. (https://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-make-dry-january-a-year-long-commitment-2018-02-04)

I have been alcohol free for a week.  I have noticed a reduction in bloat, seemingly already improved sleep (though this could also be related to the caffeine in pop that I’m also not drinking), and more or less just that I’m getting a lot more done.

What are your resolutions? Any similar experiences? how is 2019 so far?!