This year, I did what I used to think was impossible: I went a whole month without drinking. Dry January (also called “Dryuary”) is a tradition that originated in the United Kingdom as a way to get people to drink less into the beginning of the new year, which is great because most people may have been drinking a little too much during the holidays. People around the world have began doing this, and it’s become an albeit annoying social media hashtag, but I’m not hear to preach about how I’m so self-righteous for not drinking. This is what I learned about myself over the past 31 days:
I didn’t feel as sluggish.
I’m not sure if I’m just getting older, but I can definitely feel how alcohol has taken a toll on my body the morning after drinking—even if I just had one drink. Two weeks into Dry January, I noticed that I didn’t feel as tired or had brain fog. I felt like I was waking up better and earlier, even on weekends, and felt more motivated to take on the day.
My skin cleared up.
I’ve always tried to ignore the signs my body gave me if I drank too much, which was mainly that I started breaking out. Throughout January, my skin cleared up and even looked glowy (special shout out to the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask for the extra hydration, my skin loves to drink that up).
I started liking seltzer.
Ugh, I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, but I really like seltzer now. It has to be flavored though, let’s not get too carried away. My boyfriend is a big La Croix drinker and I get the hype now, I can’t believe it. I also really like Spindrift and Polar. Flavored seltzers just get the job done of quenching your thirst with something that tastes fun, but doesn’t have a lot of calories or sugar. I used to treat myself to a glass of wine or what not after a long day, but now a seltzer or blood orange Sanpellegrino does the trick. For extra special days though, I’ll get a kombucha or my latest addiction: Rachel’s Ginger Beer. Honestly if I could have Rachel’s Ginger Beer every single day I would, and if it’s wrong I don’t want to be right.
I lost weight.
Okay, I cannot truthfully say I lost pounds because I haven’t weighed myself in a long time, but I can tell you that I feel lighter and look thinner since I haven’t been drinking. I think I’ve always known that I’ve looked a bit more bloated after going on a bender, but wow a month can make such a huge difference. I’ve also been working out a little more than usual (which ties to the aforementioned paragraph “I didn’t feel as sluggish”), but I do think my diet has been healthier and it has reflected my outer appearance.
I saved money.
If you think about it, a glass of wine is typically $12, so if you want two it’s $24 and is $30 with tip. A decent bottle of wine that won’t give you the cheap wine hangover after one glass can cost between $10-$20, and it’s better to buy more than one so you don’t have to make an extra trip. And I don’t know about you, but when I drink, I’m more likely to eat junk food to “soak the alcohol” or whatever excuse I make to myself. Without alcohol, I spent probably like $10 a week on seltzers, or $21 for a growler refill at Rachel’s Ginger Beer, which usually lasts a week. I did a better job at eating meals at home and curbing my appetite for junk food while not drinking.
As much as I enjoy drinking socially, I do enjoy not drinking more than I thought I would. I like the way it makes me feel (and look, to be honest. What, I’m vain!) and I feel healthier sticking to seltzers, kombucha, or ginger beer. I’ve also been able to be sober in settings where other people like coworkers are drinking, and I was finally able to feel like I didn’t need a drink because it was a stressful week of work. I found that there are other ways to deal with stress like going for a run or taking a hot bath or watching a funny show. We’re now into February and I think I’m going to adopt this rule of not drinking unless I’m hanging out with friends. It’s been nice to go through the beginning of the year sober and clear-minded, and I’m looking forward to keeping up with these new habits I picked up.