Day 332: I’m seeing and hearing loads of people doing ‘Dry January’ at the moment and it’s great to see folk giving their body and mind a break from the poison but something has always unsettled me about this ‘gimmick’ – because let’s be honest, for many it is just a gimmick. New Year, New Me. Skint after Christmas. Cold and dark outside. The month which gives us ‘Blue Monday’. It is the ‘perfect’ time to have a break from the booze. And hey, don’t get me wrong… any break is better than no break!
But from many people I’ve spoken to it was an excuse to ‘cane’ it in December knowing they’d have a break in January and then throughout January (so far) all I’ve seen under the public posting of ‘I’m 13 days in…’ is the common accompaniment of ‘can’t wait for that bottle of wine’ or ‘how do people live without booze?!’
I never did Dry January in the past (so this is my first dry Jan!) but obviously the journey I’ve been on means every month is dry now and as I approach my 1 year of sobriety milestone it is making me reflect more and more about where I was at as a person this time last year. Secret drinking, depression, extreme bouts of anxiety and becoming more and more reckless and insular.
I am now resentful of alcohol but of course, I don’t blame it entirely for my struggles. I chose to pick up the drink time and time again. But I dunno, I kind of think back to all the peer pressure from a young age, my Dad drinking around me in the house most nights after work and everything you see on TV and in Music that glamorises boozing. Alcohol is such a big part of British culture and especially common in my working class upbringing. One of my Dad’s happiest moments was seemingly taking me for my first pint down the local club.
I have no problem with people drinking around me (most of the time) and I have no problem with people doing ‘Dry January’ but as I head further and further away from the old me I am building such a disdain towards all things alcohol. I was dependent on the stuff. I loved the stuff. I’m still not entirely free of it because I still drink 0% versions of it to give me the taste. I don’t really see the point in doing that but it helps my sobriety whilst also annoying me that I am still in a sense under the spell of the big beer companies.
I will never be free of Alcohol because I have to consciously avoid it every day. It is around me daily and it will never not be. I don’t want to become ‘that’ person that preaches to people about drinking but at the same time I don’t enjoy seeing people drinking anymore. Not because it bothers me that the drink is there. More because I know how dangerous it can become. It makes me question their life choice. Silly I know, because for many I’m sure they will go through life ‘managing’ their alcohol consumption just fine.
But what really is ‘managing’ it? and what is ‘just fine’?
Hopefully Dry January gives some people food for thought about their future drinking and they either choose to cut down or who knows, remain sober. For most though… I guess it just means February will be open season again!
Jeez, I said I don’t want to be a preacher but I sound that way don’t I?!