This was featured on Alcohol Concern and is a guest post from someone who used the springboard of Dry January to try a Dry Life!
It may have started nearly 5 months ago now, but we still love to hear your Dry January stories! Here, Joanne Munro tells us about why she took part Dry January 2015, and how it’s impacted her life so far…
Back in December, I was a typical example of the mother who reaches for her first glass of rosé whilst simultaneously burning dinner, tripping over the dog, emptying the washing machine and resolving conflicts between her offspring. Then I realised that “wine o’clock” had become an automatic reflex that wasn’t so much a pleasure as a habit. When exactly did a daily habit become an addiction?
I didn’t find an answer to my question on internet, but I did find Alcohol Concern’s website and a challenge called “Dry January”. I liked the idea – an opportunity to prove to myself that I had more self-control than a four-year-old who’d been forgotten in a Cadbury’s warehouse. If I was addicted, I’d be clawing my way up the curtains in despair within days.
So I signed up. Over the month, my resolve was considerably strengthened by Dry January’s Facebook page and the determination and solidarity of those taking part – the challenge worked a charm because people can encourage each other and be accountable to each other.
The aim was simple on paper: give up alcohol for one month. As I’m an eternal optimist, I added an hour of exercise every day for good measure. I quickly worked out a circuit through the local vineyards (I live in France, the land of wine temptation) – that’s what you could term Dry January karma. When attempting abstinence for the first time in twelve years, sunshine and great countryside proved ideal to lift this trainee teetotaller’s spirits.
The first week, I surfed the virtuosity wave. I was a disdainful diva, even declining champagne on the beach to toast in the new year. By the middle of the second week, however, the queen of self-control and restraint was glowering, Gollum-like, over her glass of Perrier and lime as hubby savoured his beer.
After two weeks the cold turkey wore off, and the first benefits kicked in. I was in bed snoring shamelessly before ten and was awake before the alarm at 6.15. My skin was looking better. I had more energy, and was proud of myself for sticking at it.
Although weight loss wasn’t a decisive factor for me, I lost 5lb in the first month and I have now lost nearly 10lb and banished three inches of muffin top from my waistline. Like many other people on Dry January’s page, my problem was the inexplicable desire to replace my evening dose of wine with a pile of pains au chocolat in front of the TV.
Yet in the long run, less wine meant less nibbles. I realised how alcohol opened up my appetite and made me reach for those salty nibbles. Less alcohol = less nibbles. Less nibbles = less weight. Not exactly rocket science, but a winning equation nevertheless.
It’s now 3 months on, and “Dry January” has become “Dry Life”. Having doubted I’d last the month, I see no reason to go back. So I’m half-way through my new challenge, C25K. Thank you, Dry January!