My Dry(ish) January
For the record, I’ve always hated January. I find it a dreary, cold and cheerless month, especially after the colour and excitement of Christmas. For this reason, I’ve never been very interested in trying Dry January - why would you, I’ve always thought.
But when my husband announced he was going dry for the month I thought I’d better give it a go to be supportive. Here’s how I got on.
My Facebook status proudly proclaims: “Starting 2016 as I mean to go on. Glass of fizz in hand, waiting for roast dinner.”
Husband pulls the first Saturday shift of the year. We decide to take the kids out to the pub for an early evening dinner when he gets home. We only have one drink each, but it’s a drink.
Back to work. I spend part of the day researching Dry January for an article. The fact that gram for gram alcohol has as many calories in as fat sticks horribly in my mind as I decide I could probably do with shifting a few Christmas pounds. By coincidence, when I get home husband announces he’s giving up booze for the rest of the month. I half-heartedly agree to join in.
It’s my day off. I drive five miles to the supermarket and realise I’ve left my purse at home. I thought not drinking was supposed to make you sharper. When I finally make it back with the means to pay, I’m pleasantly surprised how much cheaper my trolley is without a few beers and a bottle or two of wine in. I meet a friend for lunch and am secretly impressed that I order lime and soda and not a glass of wine.
I wake up with a horrible headache, almost like I’m hung over. How unfair! Fortunately it clears after an hour or so.
I’ve had an alcohol-free week! I’m a little ashamed to admit this is probably the longest I’ve gone without at least a glass of wine since I was pregnant.
Friday night and we decide to have a takeaway curry. It’s a bit odd washing it down with a soft drink, but that’s what we do!
It’s a lovely sunny, crisp day and we take the kids out for a country walk. It’s on the tip of my tongue to suggest we stop off at the pub on the way home, but I rein myself in and put the kettle on instead.
It’s official: I have the willpower of a gnat, and order a (medium) glass of red wine when we go for dinner at the local Italian. Husband eyes me with a certain amount of smugness as he sips his diet Coke. I refrain from shouting: “I abstained for 18 months while I bore your children!” (but that’s what I’m thinking inside….)
I’ve done really well this week, but can’t resist a small glass of wine with dinner after using some to cook with. A week(ish) to go!
We call an early end to the month after a long muddy walk with the kids and a stop-off at a country pub (only one each though!).
It’s been an interesting experiment. I can’t say there have been any noticeable differences in my health, although I daresay there have been plenty of invisible benefits and that my liver is thanking me for the rest. What has been more interesting for me is the chance to question my relationship with alcohol, and how often I poured a glass of wine just out of habit. So will I be giving up? No. But my Dry(ish) January will probably make it easier for me to spot that habitual behaviour and make some changes.
Hayley Draper is communications manager for LionHeart