I decided to participate in my very first dry January this year. For those that are not familiar, it is an annual month long abstention from drinking alcohol, right after the long holiday season filled with Thanksgiving pie, Christmas parties, and New Year’s Eve shenanigans. It actually started in 2012 in the UK. I had heard about it for years and typically rolled my eyes at it because I just never felt the need. But after my holiday season of delicious and joyous dinners with friends — and lots and lots of drinks — I needed a detox.
I had no idea how I would feel. It is so automatic to sip a champagne over gossip and a charcuterie board. I wondered if those celebrations would feel the same with sparkling water and a twist of lime.
Cold Turkey Wasn’t So Bad
I officially started dry January on the third of the month and planned to go for four full weeks until January 31. To my surprise, the first few days of that week were smooth. I usually did not drink anything during the work week, but would sometimes have a glass of wine with dinner. My first challenge came that first Saturday when my family and I visited friends with whom we ALWAYS share a bottle of bubbly…and some bourbon. Well, come to find out, they were also partaking in some form of dry January! We had hot tea instead. Another favorite drink of mine.
Experimenting with Alcohol-Free Wine and Zero Proof Spirits
Since I was refraining from the real stuff, I decided to experiment with alcohol free wine. I ordered an alcohol-free sparkling rose from Amazon that had good reviews. I was very skeptical from my experience with alcohol-free wine while pregnant. They typically were just bad or tasted like juice. I quickly found out that in just the couple of years since I was pregnant that the non-alcohol (or NA) world of wine and alcohol had exploded! The bottle I ordered was fantastic! It tasted like ACTUAL wine.
The process to remove the alcohol brings the alcohol content to about 0.5%, the same as an overripe banana. AND, it is only 18 calories per glass, which is about 3.5 ounces. It is also low in sugar and gluten free. A total win and helped me get over some of the random cravings I would get for my favorite bubbly.
I also went out with a friend to a local restaurant and found that they had a whole menu of “mocktails.” I ordered a delicious “bourbon” cocktail that was quite enjoyable, but not quite as good a dupe as the NA sparkling rose.
The Benefits of Dry January
As dry January gains popularity, more and more of us will reap the benefits of cutting back for a month. It can lead to better sleep, weight loss, more energy, and better liver function. Personally, I definitely slept well and felt my energy was high as compared to the usual day after imbibing the night before.
While I successfully completed dry January, I looked forward to my first sip of my favorite bubbly once the weekend was here. But what I will do moving forward is incorporate non-alcoholic options and pace myself much better when I do indulge.
Have you ever done dry January?