I’m into Day 3 of Dry January and i’ve already cancelled two parties for this weekend because I really don’t want to fall at the first hurdle. It’s not that i’m finding it that hard (yet) but I know it’s something I really need to do so i’m going to make like a hermit crab and hide in my shell as much as possible this month.
When I have discussed Dry January with my friends I have mentioned that i’m doing it to shift the extra pounds that i’ve put on over Christmas, but honestly weight loss is not the real reason i’m doing it. The truth is I need to stop drinking, not permanently but certainly for long enough for me to know that I can.
I drink too much and the problem is that i’m very good at it. I seem to have built up such an extraordinary tolerance to prosecco and wine that I can easily drink a whole bottle without it even touching the sides. I don’t fall in a gutter and puke on myself, I don’t even have a hangover but that doesn’t mean it’s ok.
Am I trying to tell you i’m an alcoholic? No. I have alcoholism in my family (not my mum or dad or brother by the way in case you know them). I know the difference between being a big drinker and being an alcoholic. However I know that even if I can pretend to be in complete control of my drinking, I am not. Not really.
I think about drinking and do drink almost every day. I don’t wake up and have a drink first thing in the morning but you can be sure that by lunch time I will be thinking that I would like a drink when I get home. Yes it’s totally normal to have a glass of wine over dinner with your partner but is it normal to drink an entire bottle of wine on your own whilst cooking dinner on a Monday night? No probably not.
It’s amazing the different reasons I can find to have a drink, and if like me you are really just looking for any reason then you can almost certainly find one. I had a tough day at work / the kids were a nightmare to get to bed / it’s a special occasion / it will help me sleep / it’s nearly the weekend – let’s face it, the list could just go on and on.
Before anyone gets on the phone to social services I just want to clarify that I am not drinking in excess around my children or in any way putting them at risk. However would I be a better parent without a fuzzy head in the morning? Yes of course I would. Would I be less stressed, less shouty, would I be more patient if I wasn’t poisoning my body with alcohol every day? Almost certainly.
I’m doing Dry January in an attempt to change my relationship with alcohol. I want to be able to drink in a normal way and I want to be able to choose not to drink too. If I go to a wedding, to a party, to dinner with my friends I think it would be totally normal to have a few drinks. What isn’t normal (or shouldn’t be) is feeling the need to drink every day and drinking an excessive amount when there is no party and no reason.
I will let you know how I get on! Thanks for reading, I would love to know if any of this resonates with you. Are you doing Dry January and if so why? Do you feel totally in control of your drinking?
I have added a part 2 to this post about how my Dry January went and what I decided to do at the end. You can read it here.