After a raucous holiday season road-tripping across Hell’s Half Acre, fighting with family, and imbibing entirely too much booze, Sailor Man and I decided to enact the old “Booze Free January” to kick off our new year.

So, here I am, booze-free for exactly 31 days now. I’ve tried this little experiment before. Unsuccessfully. Now that the deed is said and done, here’s some observations I noticed during my month of respite from the spirits:

  1. Drinking, in some sense, is second nature. The last time I tried this experiment, I was amazed to find myself no sooner walking in the door after a long day and mindlessly pouring myself a drink before I could consciously ask myself “What the hell am I doing?”
  2. In my attempt to be more conscientious about drinking, I could feel a sense of anxiety welling up inside of me. It honestly took me a few weeks to analyze this sentiment, but it came down to feeling as though I was missing out on something by not having a drink. A sense of loss. It’s weird, but I have no idea where this comes from.
  3. Related to the anxiety and sense of loss is also a feeling of paranoia. Why am I feeling this anxiety? Am I an alcoholic? Why am I thinking about booze so much? Do I want a drink that bad? Do I need a drink that bad?
  4. Of course, after the first week, #2 and #3 went away and was replaced by a feeling of indifference.
  5. Celebrations are the single largest contributor to falling off the wagon. Be it a birthday party, getting into a PhD program, football playoffs or some other event that inspires the need to have a party. Celebrations in general just seem to go hand-in-hand with alcohol and it is darned difficult to separate the two.
  6. In declaring my booze-free status on any sort of social media, I immediately was flooded with emails or comments in the nature of “Why?! Are you okay?!” Which then kicked off a stream of responses in making people understand that, no, I’m not an alcoholic, I just wanted to give booze a break for a spell. Also, I had hoped that by sharing my booze-free mantra for the month, that friends would be more encouraging and less apt to tempt me.
  7. Friends who were aware of my drink-free vow were less inclined to want to get together. I frequently heard “Maybe after your month of abstinence is over…”
  8. Without changing my diet or workout regiment, I have lost 6 pounds. Now, I don’t usually drink that much, maybe one drink 5 nights a week, so the loss of those six pounds is mighty telling. I know that when, on occasion I drink a lot, I also tend to snack unjudiciously, but since that happens so rarely, the 6 pounds is something I’ll have to look in to.
  9. Now that the proverbial bar is now open, I find myself less incline to have a drink. I’m actually considering extending the little experiment. I do have friends coming in town next weekend and belated birthday party to attend, so naturally, there will be a glass or two consumed, but maybe I’ll start a plan to save this for the weekends…

With the resolution now resolved, I am left with a feeling of meh. Maybe some time to digest this past month will reveal some new insights. Maybe I’m over thinking the whole thing. Maybe I should just chill-out and have a drink…