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Drynuary: Closing Thoughts

I went thirty days without a drink. Here is my diary on the subject.

Drynuary wasn’t the hell beast that I feared it would be. It was actually a very, very good learning experience. It was therapy.

Now that it’s over—and now that I’ve had a few drinks—it is now time to reflect on the act of drinking and not drinking. These are the closing thoughts on Drynuary 2017 (and some general new thoughts on booze).

Your first sip back is fine. Bobby semi-ambushed me on February 1 by taking me out to dinner and toasting a celebratory glass to having gone 31 days dry. It was a joyous occasion! I had done a big task that I had a lot of concerns with and Bobby had to endure solo drinks as a result so it was a nice way to celebrate the end of a micro-era. Tempted by champagne, I went for a more sensible Wednesday drink via glass of rosé, which almost lost to a cider. And? It was fine. It tasted the same. I wasn’t hit harder from my lack of drinking. I didn’t tumble into a drunken heat, consuming a wine cellar in minutes, but I also didn’t shrug it away unhappily: it just was. The first sip back is fine. It’s like meeting an old friend again who you have a love/hate relationship with.

You learn how to say no. The biggest takeaway from this experience is that it is so much easier to pass on booze after telling yourself that you have to pass. This is a huge hurdle in maturity and, if you have mild issues with saying no, take a booze fast. It’ll teach you how to be fine with forgoing a drink.

“How did you survive in this economy?” This was the most resounding question along with, “How are you not dead’?” This wasn’t a statement on a culture’s alcohol dependence but a reflection on the state of the nation. Multiple friends and Internet acquaintances messaged to say as much, that Donald Trump was making it very difficult to stay sober. I understand that completely. Being wholly present doesn’t make it much better but, still, I was able to stare into that Cheeto flame without blinking. Congratulations…?

Why drink during the week? Why? After that first night, I had to wonder why one would even want to drink during the week. I know why because I love a glass after a terrible day but waking up foggy and like one eye was placed in your ear and having to go to work seems unbearable.

Hangovers are dumb. They really are. See above. This other takeaway was easily learned after too many drinks on Friday night.

Why drink more than a bottle of wine? To that, it’s going to be difficult for me to abide by this rule at a dinner party or party or outing or whatever—but why drink more than this? I used to think the bottom of the bottle of wine held a new bottle but now there is a clear stopping point because…why? This also gets at the idea that I had an issue with stopping “the feeling” of the drink, that I needed to maintain it as long and as far as possible, carrying myself from waking to sleeping without losing steam. Adulthood is allowing yourself to appreciate and be okay with that steam being lost. Is there a better metaphor for aging?

Two and a half glasses is the sweet spot. This is a common thought, especially as it relates to attending parties: enjoy two glasses and use the third as a way out. If you have more than three, you’re in a dangerous hangover territory as it often leads to five or six glasses. Also, no one stops drinking at two glasses: that’s just dumb. Thus, two and a half (Well, three.) is the spot.

Cider is a nice alternative. Also! This is like sweetwater! It’s a happy medium between wine and beer that is neither! I’m a big fan of artisanal ciders now! There are even ones that come from France and are bottled like champagne! This is good news!

A man told me Drynuary is a good way to gauge if you “need to go to rehab.” I thought that was insane and hyperbolic but I also agreed. We both survived so I guess we dodged the bullet.

While completely different worlds, the cost/benefit of a buzz goes to weed. Sorry, fam: wine is always in my heart but weed is now always on my mind. It’s just a much more gentle weeknight activity. Why have a hangover when you can be lulled into the night with a lil marijuana?

Overall: Drynuary and drinking fasts are an excellent way to learn about limitations. As you can tell from above, a lot of maturing happened in the past few weeks of not drinking. I feel much more independent and without an anchor bounding me to needing to drink. I can’t say this enough but, if you sense you have an issue with saying no, challenge yourself to a drinking fast. It will be a long, winding, steep road but you won’t be disappointed by it.

Here’s to softly drinking away 2017! Thanks, Trump!

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