January 2019 marks the sixth year that I’ve chosen to have a DRY January and the fourth where I’ve given up meat. A Dry and Vegetarian January has become a standard for me. I don’t give up meat and booze for any particular reason – mostly just to reset and be more mindful of what I consume.
Losing wait is not my goal (although that would be a nice benefit). I don’t even end up being all that much healthier as we eat more cheese than usual. After all the parties in the fall, I do find the booze-free aspect to be refreshing.
Fall is a big season for non-profit events in Chicago, plus all the heavy work dinners, conferences and holiday parties. At a certain point, a guy just needs to take a step back.
How I started this trek
I started off with booze-free January when a friend leaned over, at a New Year’s Eve event, and asked:
Friend: Tim, do you think you could go all of January without a drink?
Me: Of course. I don’t even think it would be that hard. Do you?
Friend: Uh. No. I don’t think I could. In all seriousness, I don’t.
Me: Well then, you and I must have a dry month. If you can’t stop, you need to.
I woke up on New Year’s Day, with a hangover, and skipped the booze of brunch. A few days passed and I called my friend who was on the booze diet, asking how she was faring. She said she couldn’t make it through the first day. Trying again on the second day, she failed. She made it through the third day, but split a bottle of wine on the fourth.
Each year, at the same New Year’s Party, she commits to having a dry January and each year she fails. She fails within the first few days.
I continue to plug through each January without booze and without meat (although, I will have a piece of fish or shellfish a few times a month). The booze never really crosses my mind (unless it is a miserably cold winter day and we are sitting by the fire – I just want a glass of wine then). I don’t think about the booze. I don’t think about the meat. My life continues as normal.
Ultimately, I do feel better at the end of January, but I’m not sure if that is because of improved health or a sense of superiority because I made it through the month.
Do you give up anything to start the new year? Have you tried to abstain but failed? What advice do you have for fellow quitters?