A Dry January: Why I’m Going Alcohol-Free

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*For many people, having a healthy relationship with alcohol can be a challenge, so if this triggers you, please be cautious. Moreover, if you need help, please seek it out.

Healthy Relationship With Alcohol

In 2020, the birth of Zoom Happy Hours showed me that it was easy to be in pajamas all day, finish work, and open a bottle of wine to hang out with friends from all over the country virtually. With being social at home and knowing I did not need to drive myself home (you can see where I’m going with this), it became easy to polish off multiple glasses of wine without realizing where the time went.

After a few of those experiences, I stopped drinking so much. As the world opened back up throughout 2021, I would indulge in a glass of wine with dinner or cocktails out with friends. I would limit myself to two and make sure I had a designated driver.

Reflecting On 2021

As we wrapped up 2021, I realized I was indulging a lot in both food and wine and waking up feeling sluggish and unmotivated. Sluggish and unmotivated is the exact opposite of what I needed to feel like in the mornings. I have a very demanding job, a rigorous Master’s program to finish in the next six months while trying to maintain being a wife and mother. Oh! In addition, there is still a pandemic that is showing increasing positivity rates, so keeping safe while navigating life is our new normal I guess.

I am not a medical professional, and I am no longer a wine sommelier (you actually have to maintain that certification which I have not done). So while I might be able to tell you what region of California a particular Zinfandel comes from simply by tasting it, I can’t tell you why drinking two glasses of it makes me wake up with a hangover. I also cannot say with any degree of certainty why I have a lot more energy and my chronic heartburn is not as bad when I decrease my alcohol intake. I’m sure people with a lot more expertise than me have studied the effects of alcohol and published research about it, but I know the effects on my own body from my own personal experience.

A Dry January: Why I'm Going Alcohol-FreeMake a Plan to Accomplish a Goal

So here we are at the start of 2022, and I am not drinking alcohol for the month of January. I chose to do this to feel better and motivate myself for what I have to accomplish in the coming months. Maybe I will try for more than just January? The best way to accomplish a goal, in my opinion, is to make a plan. Plan for when you may be faced with a difficult decision. I plan to keep January dry by planning alternative beverages I can drink and preparing some responses for when people ask why I am not drinking.

What to Drink Instead of Alcohol

  1. When dining out with family, this one is pretty easy. I’ll stick to water or lemonade.
  2. For Happy Hour with coworkers/friends, almost any place we go now serves mocktails. Ordering a soda water with lime is perfectly refreshing.
  3. If a friend invites me to have drinks, I’ll suggest we meet at a coffee shop.

Responses for When I’m Asked Why I’m Not Drinking

  1. “I don’t feel like drinking alcohol.”
  2. “I am trying to see if I feel better by not drinking this month.”

And most importantly, keep in mind that you actually don’t need to explain your choices to anyone. I’ll be doing what is best for myself in 2022 by having a Dry January!

The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.

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