So here I sit in my local, on February 1’st 2017, enjoying the luxury of a lunch time pint, writing this blog. It was a time to reflect on ‘Dry January’ … and I’ve decided it was rubbish! Yes it was rubbish but also long, mostly boring, sometimes hard and often it seemed a thankless job.
So why did you want to do it in the first place? (I hear you ask).
I guess the primary reason was to break the drinking habit, or at least break the cycle. The habit had become, well habitual, certainly an ingrained solution to the how to relax after work problem. However to prove to myself that we were still talking about a habit not an addiction I had to give it up … and what better time than Dry January!
Also I was looking to reap some rewards in other areas. In respect to health and fitness I was hoping to shed a few pounds. This would hopefully mean looking healthier, hopefully feeling healthier and maybe even being healthier! Plus, I’m always up for a challenge, and what better reason to do something than to prove you can … ask any mountaineer or inventor! My December challenge, just gone, was UWCB boxing culminating in winning my bout. This has kick started the weight loss and alcohol abstinence seemed like a fitting phase 2. Plus it was clear that my family would encourage this particular challenge, especially my wife and my mum who were a little bit less keen on the boxing. I figured it would be nice to be ‘in the good books’ for a change!
I’d read that it takes 21 days to break a habit, and with 31 days in January, that seemed like more than enough. Plus it would reveal to myself, friends and family if my penchant for beer and wine was all mental i.e. habit or also physical i.e. addiction!
So how did you do? (I also hear you ask).
Well, I think good, in fact really good! There were so many benefits, some expected and some unexpected, that I have had to draw up a top 10 for you:
1. Weight loss. Another half a stone in fact.
2. Sleep. Not necessarily more sleep but better sleep.
3. Money. I’ve saved some cash, maybe £100 🙂
4. Time. Wow evenings can be so productive.
5. Energy. From a mix of health fitness & motivation.
6. Concentration. I think it’s been easier to maintain focus.
7. Positivity. I’m sure I felt more optimistic in general.
8. Self-control. I’ve used a ‘muscle’ that needs exercising.
9. Self-respect. I’m happy with myself, I’m not gonna lie.
10. Self-belief. With Dry January done, I feel I can do anything!
A friend in my village had provided inspiration for this by completing a dry 2016. Yes you heard that right, the whole flippin year!!! I’m sure that I would likewise benefit from the longer program but hey give me chance … maybe 2018?!?!
So to finish off the main point of this blog is to encourage anyone considering dry January or any 30 day abstinence challenge to DO IT! However if you are properly in the habit of cracking a drink or two as relaxation and reward of an evening, then do gear yourself up for a challenge, it may be harder than you think. So I suggest to prepare, commit and stay focused. Get support and accountability from friends, family and colleagues and get started. In fact don’t wait for dry January, there’s always STOPtober, and more to the point there’s always NOW!
For anyone who missed dry January, then dry February is 90.32% as good and can still be your victory! Let me know how you get along 🙂