Dry January: Reevaluating and Resetting

I struggled with how to approach this post for varied reasons. Part of it is because I want to be completely honest and transparent, set aside my pride, and focus on how this could help someone else on their journey. If you haven’t heard of Dry January, it is a term for taking the month of January off of all alcohol products. This year I remained alcohol-free until the middle of February. 2023 was the fourth year I took part. This time, by far, was the best! It is teaching me SO MUCH.

I started drinking around 15 years old (entirely too young; I know). My childhood was a little unstable, and I struggled ALOT with self-esteem, so those are my excuses. Things escalated after losing my parents one week apart in my early twenties, and I think at that stage of my life, I decided I “deserved” to drink occasionally. Despite this, I finished college. Now I’m married with two kids and work outside the home in nursing. Fast forward to my late thirties and early forties, and I’ve become a habitual drinker. I don’t drink excessively, but I want wine one or two nights a week, always a beer or two during football games, and definitely a few drinks at parties or dinners with friends. Some people don’t see this as an issue, but I am increasingly tired of the thought patterns accompanying drinking. First, rebound. Anxiety after a night of drinking is always elevated. There is science behind this involving the brain and homeostasis. I will spare the details, but I know alcohol is a drug.

That helps me temporarily decrease anxiety, but the next day the anxiety worsens! Ever heard of “hangxiety”? Also, there is way too much time spent. Making decisions about drinking, like thinking I didn’t drink Friday, so maybe I will have a drink on Saturday, etc. That alone is exhausting! During Dry January, the decision-making is entirely out of it, which is so freeing!

There are countless benefits to not drinking. Some of my favorites are more attractive skin, better sleep, more energy, saving money, and clearer thinking, to name a few. In my life, I do everything after prayerful consideration, and I feel God may be telling me it is time to evaluate my relationship with alcohol. I’m not making promises yet. The rest of January was enjoyable. I allowed it to open my eyes and realized I was in more control of my life than I thought. If you’re considering trying it out, I highly encourage you. The first time was difficult, but each time became more manageable when I focused on the wonderful benefits.

Some practical tips to make it easier:

  • Stock your fridge with delicious options like your favorite juices, seltzer waters, or ingredients to make cool mocktails or non-alcoholic beers.

  • Don’t avoid social situations that would typically involve a drink. Just have an alternative beverage and prove to yourself that you can still have fun and enjoy yourself without alcohol. You’ll be so surprised, and it’s so empowering!

  • PRAY about it. God WILL help you with this venture and allow you to succeed.

  • As always, God bless. I hope you renew your spirit this fresh year.

  • Mindy Thompson
    Posted at 10:55h, 07 March Reply

    Thanks for sharing this. I find the older I get my tolerance is gone. 1 drink and I feel it, and also feel it the next day ????…I’m at the point where I almost don’t feel like it’s worth it. Special occasions, and maybe a hot summer day, we will see, but I almost feel like this part of my life is changing. I have never been a big drinker (well in my twenties) and wrestled with guilt the next day, and the anxiety… I think God made hangovers for a reason..lol and I’ve learned my lesson. Thank you for this post and the vulnerability in it. I do appreciate all the benefits of being clear minded and the empowerment of being in control over it ❤️????

    • Mindy Thompson
      Posted at 10:57h, 07 March Reply

      The question marks are prayer hands and heart..lol

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