Dry January: Week 1 of a booze-free month

We all know how it is. We think we are so attractive, great dancers, witty and urbane when we drink. Of course by "we" I mean "me." What is closer to the truth is that we stumble around with one eye half-closed and tell jokes that go like this: "Hey! You wanna hear a joke? Ha! There's your joke." I cannot take credit for the previous description. That goes to Anna, but I thought it was so funny and spot on that I couldn't resist.


Not drinking for a month may not seem like the most courageous feat, but my brother did once remark that I put whiskey on my corn flakes in the morning. Anyone who knows me knows how utterly absurd that is. I don't even LIKE whiskey. Sheesh. No. I am not an alcoholic. No. I am not one of those people in denial about how much they drink or how often. Yes. I enjoy having drinks with friends and in social settings. The issue is, there is always a social setting, and when one doesn't exist, you create it. November and December were not lacking for reasons to imbibe. For the better part of the last two months I felt as though I have had either a confection or a glass of something in my hand. Sometimes both. I was not alone in this. After speaking with several friends, we tossed around the idea of abstaining in the new year. Some have already dropped off like barflies. So far Anna, Julia, Malissa are still in it.


I have friends who have gone through dry periods before and lived to tell about it. Miah, aka Express Monkey, did so in February of last year, and then Michael last June. Michael even dubbed it Dry June, a title which I borrowed to describe my own endeavor.


Now it's not that sobriety is tough; it is the realization of how prevalent alcohol is in social gatherings. At dinners, game nights, or even going to a movie, someone brings a bottle of wine or suggests getting drinks. Of course one can have an active social life and not touch a drop. People have been doing this forever and don't think twice about it. I can draw the parallel, having been a vegetarian for the last 22 years. The thought of eating meat doesn't appeal to me, just like the thought of drinking doesn't appeal to some people.


The next two days will be a proving ground. The weekend. Happy hour after work. Free time. Hanging with friends. Will I fold like a house of cards? I can say with confidence I will not. Earlier this week I had my friends Julie and JB over for dinner and wine flowed. I held fast and remained dry. What do I hope to learn from this? I don't know. I am fairly certain that this change isn't permanent. I enjoy having a drink now and then. I think ultimately what this will show me is that I am the one fully in charge. I chose to have an adult beverage for no other reason than I want one. That's it. Then again, who knows? What I discover may surprise me. Only one way to find out.

click to enlarge From left, Dry January diary writer Louise Rocco shares a wetter moment with lifelong pal Renee Bucklin at their Sexy Family New Year's Eve Party in Orlando, Dec. 31, 2011. - Julia Brown
Julia Brown
From left, Dry January diary writer Louise Rocco shares a wetter moment with lifelong pal Renee Bucklin at their Sexy Family New Year's Eve Party in Orlando, Dec. 31, 2011.

click to enlarge From left, Dry January diary writer Louise Rocco shares a wetter moment with lifelong pal Renee Payton at their "Sexy Family New Year's Eve Party" in Orlando, Dec. 31, 2011. - Julia Brown
Julia Brown
From left, Dry January diary writer Louise Rocco shares a wetter moment with lifelong pal Renee Payton at their "Sexy Family New Year's Eve Party" in Orlando, Dec. 31, 2011.
  • Julia Brown
  • From left, Dry January diary writer Louise Rocco shares a wetter moment with lifelong pal Renee Payton at their "Sexy Family New Year's Eve Party" in Orlando, Dec. 31, 2011.

Today marks the first day of a month-long period of sobriety. You might be saying to yourself, Self, this chick decided not to drink for a month. So what? Who cares? Granted, it won't bring about any lofty changes in the world, but it will take me out of my comfort zones. Wine and beer are like a favorite sweater, comfortable and familiar. Without them, my interactions will (hopefully) be more lucid, and that lucidity will allow me to think about more important things and have more interesting conversations.

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