Disclaimer: For someone who has a severe drinking problem, the sudden stoppage of alcohol intake can cause serious health issues. Please consult a qualified addiction physician before doing so.
What do you feel like the morning after a couple of drinks the night before? Have you ever considered trying a month without booze as a social experiment and note the changes, if any? This is the perfect month to do it. It is “Dry January”
Embibers across the country are checking out what it feels like to abstain from drinking alcohol for thirty days. While it’s always a good idea to evaluate alcohol intake and how it impacts your life, you can be part of an ever-growing, sober curious movement, if just for a few weeks.
We are already well into the month but there is still time to give Dry January a try. Thirty days sound daunting? Try for two weeks.
It’s not about being an “alcoholic.” It’s not about addiction — it is about merely evaluating lifestyle. We need to move away from associating abstinence from alcohol as something that means problem drinking.
For me, it’s admittedly a dry lifetime by choice. It started as my awareness of a severe drinking problem. Today, however, it’s a lifestyle. I do not consider myself an “alcoholic’. The term, while important as a tool of self-awareness starting out, no longer has meaning to me as a self-label. As a lifestyle choice, here are the benefits, I have found:
- I enjoy a higher quality level of sleep. Even when I was not getting hammered, a couple of drinks became a sleep aid, and it was never a deep sleep. I woke up with that pressure in the head that comes with a lack of real rest.
- The mornings are lovely without the distraction of even a minor hangover or just the “blechs” that a couple of glasses of wine can bring. I am more alert mentally acute. This allows me to get right into the day rather than “ease” into it.
- My eating habits are more balanced. Even a few drinks would invariably lead to choices more towards more “impulsive munchie” food choices. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big believer in “eat to live” not living to eat, but I also believe in balanced options and alcohol skewed that for me.
- My morning energy level is much better and overall more balanced throughout the day. That does not mean I don’t get the “sleepies’ like everyone else but without the low level, alcohol disruption, I can get my workout in more consistently. I am more focused on the work I do.
- Without question, my personal relationships have improved. Even a low-level hangover can make a person irritable, causing conflict that would not otherwise be there.
This month or any month, consider a timed reset on your relationship with alcohol. No judgment. No stigma. If you decide it’s not for you, have a drink for me.
Brian Cuban (@bcuban) is The Addicted Lawyer. Brian is the author of the Amazon best-selling book, The Addicted Lawyer: Tales Of The Bar, Booze, Blow & Redemption (affiliate link). A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, he somehow made it through as an alcoholic then added cocaine to his résumé as a practicing attorney. He went into recovery on April 8, 2007. He left the practice of law and now writes and speaks on recovery topics, not only for the legal profession but on recovery in general. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.