‘Dry January, you’re still doing that? That must be really tough for you.’ Apparently, I’ve managed to get a reputation as a bit of a drinker, although I have no idea how that happened.
The thought of a month off began as just a tiny whisper at my birthday dinner. One of my best friends works in alcohol policy, and the group thought it would be fun to do the alcohol audit (we are such party animals). We all laughed as my friends Anthony and Sean scored in the “adult female with a drinking problem” range of 16-19, until I “won” with a whopping 25 points. A significant portion of those came from an alcohol-and-Usher-related injury (and my doctor’s subsequent concerns), but still. I drink. A lot. Bogart also mentioned that he drinks more since we met (shut up, Paul), and he’s not the first person I’ve dated who has said that to me.
I started to feel a bit … drained towards the end of December, and I figured post-holidays would be as good a time as any to go dry. People’s incredulous reactions only fuelled my resolve (that and a friendly wager with a friend in Yellowknife. – if anyone has reason to drink, it’s someone living in Yellowknife). It’s not that unfathomable that I go booze-free: I’ve done it before, last year for a week and the month of eliminating every damn thing good in my life that finally pushed me to become vegetarian.
It has actually been much easier than I anticipated, although there are definitely some activities that would go down easier with that soothing, familiar lubrication.
Things I have survived sans booze over the past 18 days:
- Lots of brunches. Sometimes a girl just really wants a mimosa (or a pitcher of them).
- Sexytimes. Of all the people I’ve slept with, I’ve probably been with less than a handful or two of them sober. I spent the better part of a decade espousing the phrase that sober sex is the strict territory of relationships, and we know how many I’ve had of those (sorry, parental units).
- Fancy dinners out. Celebratory ones too. It’s tempting as fuck when the head chef comes to your table, tries to convince you to have a drink (your drink, that you’ve been fantasizing about for the past 18 days), and says it’ll be ‘our secret.’ Thankfully, Bogart sent over a virgin version before my willpower completely dried up.
- Comedy shows. Never have I
neededwanted a drink as badly as when I thought the headliner was going to make my boyfriend show the room his ass tattoo. Cheap Sunday night comedy is much funnier if you’re sauced.
- Public speaking. I’ve done Tinder Tales and other storytelling events, but I’ve been varying degrees of wasted. I participated in the Note to Self Project, and as I read my letter to my younger self I could feel the heat rising in my cheeks from self awareness rather than the sweet, buffering buzz of booze.
- Charity curling. Everyone was drinking but me and the lone 17-year-old. And let’s be honest, it was his birthday so someone probably slipped him a beer.
- Quiet nights in. When I’m at home binging X Files, talking nonsense to my cats, or cooking, there’s usually a glass of wine by my side. Now it’s caffeine-free tea (sometimes a tea latte if I’m feeling really wild). These are the drinks I miss the least. I’m sleeping better, I rarely go to bed without washing my face (wine makes me lazy and doesn’t care how I will look when I’m 50), and I haven’t set off the smoke detector once this month!
Some people have asked if I intend on continuing into Dry February, to which I say a resounding ‘Fuck no!’ I may drink less, especially at home, but I am still looking forward to a very joyful reunion come February 1st.