Here’s What Happened During My ‘Dry January’

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Dry January. It’s a concept discussed by many, but few actually follow through with it. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically giving up alcohol for the month, often to make up for drinking in excess in December. So I took the challenge {with myself} and participated.

freakingout

Now I’m not a big drinker, though known to enjoy an adult beverage from time to time, but when I’m given a challenge, I’m totally down. So — bye bye alcohol for the month, easy peasy. Here are the top things I learned during my ‘Dry January’ in Hoboken:

Everyone thinks you’re pregnant.

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In a word, the answer to that is — “NO.” The long answer? “NO, I’m just fat.” People are really thrown off. But seriously…it’s incredible how many people were either forward enough to ask me upon my declining a cocktail/drink or to go as far as asking my husband, after a night out to dinner when they noticed I wasn’t drinking if I were pregnant. My response {his was a little nicer…}? Get. A. LIFE. If you’re that curious about someone else’s reasons for not drinking when you are, you need to get your priorities straight. The end.

You realize how many opportunities there are to drink.

dryjanuary

24 to be exact. Yes, TWENTY FOUR OPPORTUNITIES TO DRINK in 31 days. And that doesn’t count the twice-a-day opportunities. I counted, just for research purposes. You’d be surprised how many birthday dinners go down in January, wine festivals, random cold nights on the couch…ya know, all the things. There’s always a reason or excuse to drink, and in a city like Hoboken, it’s SUPER easy to do — any and every {if desired} night of the week.

You easily learn who your friends are …versus “drinking buddies.”

cocktails

Let’s be serious, in your late 20s and early 30s, you pretty much have already figured out who your real friends are, but it definitely amplifies the ‘good convo’ situation when you’re not drinking. Here’s what I mean by ‘good convo’: whether intentional or not, I started making “dates” with my friends that didn’t revolve around drinking, and it was interesting to start to gravitate towards texting the ones that I’d have fun with no matter what we were doing {including sipping lavender tea and hanging on the couch}. Good conversations, sans alc.

Business and networking meetings at coffee shops are the new productivity.

coffee-breaks

How many times have you been asked to “meet for cocktails” to talk business? I countered all of these offers with coffee or tea, and then did some work before/after the meeting. {A few meetings still included cocktails, and the side eye I got for ordering seltzer was *real* at one of them — while others were understanding.} Regardless, coffee shop meetings were productivity central in my experience. I was able to go early, sip some tea, and get work done pre-meeting. My head was clear and I was more apt to make sound business decisions rather than ‘excited’ and ‘fueled by alcohol’ ones {it sounds odd, but I’m such a ‘YES LET’S TOTALLY DO THAT’ person when I have even a glass of wine, and I usually end up regretting what I’ve committed to in the future after the fact}. Add some cocktails to your business meeting, and while it’s more fun, it’s definitely not as productive in the long run.

You lose weight — without doing a damn thing.

salads

Yes, I was eating TNK dinners in solidarity with the #HobokenFitContest {results from all of our participants and round 2 coming soon FYI — woohoo!}, and no I wasn’t guzzling booze thaat crazily pre-holidays where the difference was profound, but really — I barely worked out besides a few classes at WiO and a Cycle Bar class, and was feeling awesome.

Hangovers are nonexistent.

 hangovers

Productivity = all time high. And the times I felt tired? I actually just needed sleep — and my body knew I was just *that* tired.

You appreciate alcohol more — and decide on drinks you actually like.

drinking

It sounds weird, but when I was in college, I drank whatever was placed in front of me {in moderation of course ;)}. Natty light? Obviously. Banker’s Club? Sure thing. Mike’s Hard Lemonade? Duh. White Zinf Franzia? Slap dat bag and pass it. {Extra points if you know what I’m referring to.} After college, my palate for alcohol definitely matured {partnered with an extensive study abroad in Italy} — and wine and [tasty] mixed drinks were things I enjoyed. But truthfully, it makes you think about the times that someone plops a drink right in front of your face and says “enjoy.” No, I actually don’t love a double vodka soda. I’d rather have a white russian at brunch {just had one on vacay and it was amazing}, and a glass of Pinot Noir with dinner is a treat, not a necessity.

You may cheat. And that’s okay.

cheating

Okay, okay. I did cheat once. I had a glass of celebratory wine after the Women’s March in DC with my sisters-in-law and cousins. We ordered pizza when we got back from our 8 hours-round-trip driving extravaganza, so wine just felt natural. But I really actually wanted the wine, rather than felt obligated because it was offered to me, so I had a glass. Deal with it.

You find other ways to relieve your stress.

drinkingwinve

I’m not a big ‘stress drinker,’ but there are times when needing a cocktail or glass of wine is the first thing that feels natural to do after a tough or long day. Meditating, yoga, and a long hot bath with a good book were perfect supplements, for the most part. Hopefully I will continue with these habits.

Life goes on — without alcohol.

turtletime

But it’s good to know it’s there when you need it.

Have you done ‘Dry January’ before? What was your experience like?

 

 

 


Written by:

Jen is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Hoboken Girl. She started the site to discover and share the wealth of things happening in Hudson County. Her roots in the area extend to her maternal grandparents, who owned two textile factories in Weehawken and North Bergen. When not planning the next Hoboken Girl event/volunteer project or editing her life away, she can usually be found shopping at local boutiques, eating an Insta-worthy meal, walking her French bulldog + rescue pup, or watching the latest murder doc on Netflix with her husband.