Monday, January 26, 2015

Settled into the Sober New Year, starting with a great DryJanuary

Wow, January flew by. We started celebrating and motivating and encouraging the folks we know who committed to a dry January, one solid sober month, and whoosh, the first month of 2015 is nearly complete.

A lot of people have asked, via all the usual methods, about the concepts behind the annual Dry January campaign. Opinions differ, but here at Lose The Booze, we think any campaign that encourages folks to think before they drink is a really good plan.

It's not just for the newly or temporarily sober, either. For those of us who have celebrated many dry Januaries, and all the months in between, it's a great time to stop, reflect, and notice the great things that have opened up in life now that we're in charge of whether we drink.

One woman who commented on a Dry January article in Slate, shared her belief that the whole thing was a terrible idea because no-one should get sober for just a month. Okay. That viewpoint pretty much puts the whole one day at a time mantra into free-fall, but let's take her opinion at face value.

If Dry January is torture for you. If you're missing your drink of choice every day. If you're drinking on the sly, or thinking about drinking during your regular life, you may just want to stop. Yep, stop drinking for a lot longer than January. Your relationship with alcohol is not likely in balance, and your compulsive thinking about drinking is a flashing brightly lit sign that you may have a real problem. If you're sweating out the month you just may be an alcoholic. At the very least you should take the Lose The Booze quiz and really think about whether alcohol use is working for you.

If, on the other hand, you are like my friend Mary, lucky you. Mary sees the month as an annual mini fitness plan. She commits to skipping the chardonnay calories during her Dry January, feels great during her annual use-the-gym binge, and, with no more thought than, as she says "all those years of no fish on Friday," goes about life as usual, you probably do not need to be here at all. Find a blog with good recipes. Enjoy your spin class. Maybe stop and check in with your other relationships with people, food, fitness, work, sleep, and whatever else may not be as balanced.

Dry January is a great tool for inviting yourself or others to consider how drinking alcohol is affecting all of the different parts of your life. Family relationships good? Work? Taking care of your health? If you don't like the answers, or alcohol is too big a part of every question, you can have a fresh shiny new start. Every day arrives squeaky clean and ready for you. Each new year is an opportunity to re-choose what works for you.

For you, as it is for me, January may be a time of gratitude for having found a way to quit drinking that works, for you. You may be grateful for the resilience of your relationships and the grace and forgiveness that got you through rough times. You may have kind words and acceptance to spare for someone you know who looks at a dry month as a BIG DEAL.

Whatever works for you. Works.

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