I’m not talking about the weather or a dry martini. I’m talking booze-free, “detoxicating”, high-on-life January. Believe it or not, this is my third year of dry January, and honestly, once I get through the D.T.s, I feel great. Almost too great; no hangovers, high energy, less grumpy, skin glows, lose the spare tire, and maybe I’m even slightly smarter.
The first year I decided to try such a radical program was January of 2012. I was coming off another Bacchanalian holiday season and was partied out. I knew some of my pals were going off the sauce for January, and in spite of my January birthday, it really is the best time. January is a time for new beginnings and resolve. Let’s face it, there is always a party, or an excuse to party, so you just have to commit. And by commit, I mean publicly state you are on the wagon. You have to be held accountable. Most people are very supportive; some are dumbstruck with disbelief. A few of my pals want nothing to do with me, but that’s okay. I get it. The thing is, I’m not one to count people’s drinks. Lord knows, I would hate it if people counted mine (not that most people could keep track, or even count that high).
The first year was definitely the hardest. Particularly when the cocktail hour rolled around between 5 and 6 pm every night. Wouldn’t a glass of wine be nice? Read the next two sentences with a strong Pepe’ Le Pew accent: Maybe the rich and inviting texture of a Sancerre, with its lingering minerality and grapefruit flavors. Or perhaps a white Bordeaux with its complex richness, and refreshing herbaceousness. Oh Hell, I’m thirsty! “Does anyone have some Blue Nun?”
This is the deal. You just have to get through the first 4 or 5 days. My friend Em was on the same program, so we acted as one another’s sponsors.The texts began flying at cocktail hour every night:
Em: “Be strong, you can do it! Grab a piece of chocolate and stuff it in your face”.
Me: “Technically, does wine count as an alcoholic beverage? Don’t the health benefits outweigh any adverse effects?”
Em: “Have a diet Coke and pop a Sudafed.”
Me: “Won’t I be hurting an already suffering economy by eliminating wine, the mainstay of my diet?”
Em: “You drink French whites; you’re not helping the GDP.”
Me: “Have you apologized to all the people you’ve offended over the years with your alcohol-fueled tirades?”
Em: “Have you made amends for all the embarrassing drunk dancing?” (This was before the wonderful term “Twerking” had entered our lexicon.)
Me: “No, but I think my drunk dancing is highly artistic. Quite frankly I’m surprised I haven’t been asked to be on Dancing with the Stars”
Fortunately, our support group of two helped me stay strong. By day five, I was totally over it. I barely thought about wine, but I resolved to stay away from Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, my Mad Men addiction, and all imagery that glamorizes alcohol.
This year, I dare say, it wasn’t a big deal starting the program January 1. In the interest of full disclosure, I gave myself a dispensation for my birthday. No sense in being a darn fool about it…