One of my goals for 2017 is to drink less alcohol. For the past few months my partner and I have been enjoying a bottle of Prosecco or white wine between us almost every night and it has become a habit we are both keen to break. So I have decided to attempt Dry January, and possibly even February, March, April…but we’ll see about that once I get through January! I really hope that by sharing this experience on my blog it will help me stick to my goal.
The first day was very easy, given that I exaggerated on New Year’s Eve and my body felt so weak the next day. Whenever I have a few glasses too many my sleep is very disturbed, and in the morning my legs are tired and throb slightly and I have all the usual dehydration symptoms (despite always trying to drink lots of water with my wine). So on New Year’s Day my partner and I had some simple Portuguese comfort food (bacalhau mashed together with boiled potatoes and a side dish of broccoli) and lots and lots of water.
On the 2nd January we travelled to Porto in Portugal to visit my partner’s family, and this meant that already on the second day I found myself having to turn down the local wine his parents were keen for me to try. This was difficult as I didn’t want to offend them, and I almost gave in out of politeness, but I still did not feel like having any wine and so, with the support of my partner who made the sacrifice to drink for both of us (!), I managed to stick to sparkling water.
On day 4 my partner’s mum was again very keen for me to try the local Port wine. I was still not interested in drinking alcohol, as I was enjoying sleeping well and waking up feeling refreshed (even though I was waking up a bit earlier than usual needing to go to loo with all the water I was drinking!). But again, I felt awkward refusing to try the wine, and in the end I took a few sips to be courteous (and because I thought it might help with a sore throat that I was developing). Although this was strictly a failure of my Dry January, it didn’t feel like one, as I hadn’t actually given in to a craving to drink and I didn’t really enjoy it. In some ways it strengthened my desire to not drink alcohol and to not have to apologise or feel uncomfortable for not drinking.
On day 5 I started to develop a headache which I was not expecting as I typically only get them after drinking alcohol. Perhaps it was due to my body detoxing, or it could just have been my brain complaining after spending many days trying to understand Portuguese! That evening we went to a dinner party at a friend’s house. Again, I was tempted to drink so as not to have to explain why I was not drinking, but not because I actually felt like it. I realised that on many past social occasions I was probably drinking more out of habit than real desire. I was so pleased to end the evening with a clear head and a stronger mind.
This is only the first week, and I am sure it will get more difficult as I get further into January, but at the moment I feel I am developing more strength, mindfulness, and awareness. In order to better connect my body and mind during this month, I have also spent every day this week practising Yoga With Adriene (I am following her latest Revolution program – 31 days of Yoga), and I even started meditating thanks to the guidance given in one of Cat Meffan’s Yoganuary YouTube videos. I’m hoping that all of this will also have a positive impact on my tennis this year.
I’m on my way back home now, and back to work, so next week will test my ability to eliminate drinking from my everyday routine. Also, after a week in Portugal (the home of pastry!), I am looking forward to cleaning up my diet and so I will be following the 7-day plan I saw in one of Carly Rowena’s YouTube videos.
Please do come back next week to find out how I get on during my second week without alcohol (but instead with lots of yoga, meditation and a healthier diet). And if anyone reading this is also attempting Dry January, let me know how you are getting on in the comments below.