Going Beyond Dry January into a Healthier Lifestyle in 2023
Sure, we have all heard of “Dry January.” A month to detox and get back on track to healthier living after indulging all through the month of December. But never in my wildest dreams did I think I would actually enjoy dry January and consider extending it through the remainder of the year.
Reasons to Try Dry January
Maybe you want to try Dry January for health or financial reasons. Maybe you want to save for a trip to Paris and those weekly nights out at the bar are costing you an extra $100 a week. Maybe you have realized you don’t like to feel sluggish the next morning or that hangovers make you irritable. Perhaps just a few hours of drinking doesn’t make up for the fact that your entire net day is compromised with being hungover. I stopped drinking a glass of wine or two during the week because I want to be as clear-headed as possible for work the next day. Whatever the reason, that is your decision and you do not have to share that with anyone else if you don’t want to.
Mocktails on the Rise
Gone are the days of “just water for me, thanks” while dining out at a restaurant on occasions I choose not to drink alcohol. More and more venues are offering a selection of mocktails on their menu. I had some pretty delicious mocktails while in Nashville last week. Or sometimes the waiter will ask: “What is your preferred flavor profile? I’ll have our bartender create something special for you.” Which, I tell them “berry and citrus, please!” Southern California even experienced a non-alcoholic bottle shop opening in the heart of Silver Lake last year. In addition, The New Bar opened its doors on Lincoln Boulevard in Venice in July. Customers can shop for different kinds of drinks, such as a sparkling blanc de blanc, rosé brut, or a bottle by Non. The New Bar also carries a zero-alcohol mezcal developed by the company Monday. Stop by and pick something up for your next dinner party.
Get a Hobby
If all your friends ever want to do is stay home, watch sports, crack beers, or go out to the bars, it may be more difficult to stick to a more sober lifestyle. It is easier to continue with a sober lifestyle when you have hobbies or, at least one hobby, that does not revolve around drinking alcohol. Something to engage in and stimulate you. Make you feel a sense of being alive. Such as, gardening, decorating, DIY projects to name a few.
The Support of Your Friends
I have noticed my girlfriends and I really only drink when we go out to dinner. And if one of us decides not to drink, they may initially ask “are you pregnant, don’t lie to me!” but that is just how close we are and they would not pry past that. We support each other’s decisions without judgment and that to me is a sign of a healthy friendship. We have plenty of other activities together that do not revolve around drinking including walks along the beach, shopping, and workouts. Or just chatting for hours and hours about everything with a bowl of snacks in the middle of us. I wish I could say the same about all friendships. I have been privy to others who decided to do Dry January experience name-calling and put-downs and, honestly, it’s a bit disheartening.
Do not get me wrong. I am not saying alcohol is always a terrible idea. Some of my best memories and experiences happened while under the influence. Plus, it can take the edge off of dating. Trust me, I remember the days I would get ready for a first date with a glass of wine just to calm my nerves. Would I do the same if I were on the market now? Maybe, maybe not. I have more confidence in myself. More of a “take me as I am or leave” mentality where I am really not looking to impress anyone else. Except for my clients, of course.
A Growing Sober Community
Something I have noticed is that a growing number of people are choosing a sober lifestyle, or at least cutting back on the amount of drinking. Perhaps the focus on self-care and mental health in society may be contributing factors. Perhaps more people are cutting alcohol to help them lose a few pounds. I admit, years ago I would have considered anyone living a sober lifestyle to have some sort of issue with alcohol. But I now know many people that choose not to drink for their own health reasons, whether that is to keep their bodies in the best shape possible or to avoid family addiction problems they may have experienced in the past. Seeing my sober friends still out enjoying life the way everyone else was made me realize that drinking is just something everyone accepts as ordinary when they go out, but really, it is not a requirement if you want to have a good time.
Treatment for those Struggling with Addiction
I just want to take a time out to acknowledge that cutting back or sober living is not always easy for some people. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction, there is help out there. Organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon, and treatment centers like aftercare programs in San Diego can help give someone a fresh start. I know this because I have personally witnessed loved ones struggle with addiction, overcome it, and come out on top. There is nothing wrong with needing to take some time away from everything else going on in life and put ourselves first. Talking to a professional can make making the switch to a sober lifestyle much easier.
I hope this blog post has been useful and inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.