At this point halfway into January, we check in with intrepid contributor Zach Fowle, who's made a commitment to go without alcohol for the first 31 days of the new year. Here's his Drynuary update, by the numbers:
Total Alcohol Consumed (units): 1 -- a glass of wine. More on this later.
Disposition: Switches between the five stages of grief.
- Denial -- "Oh, it's already been two weeks. This is so easy!"
- Anger -- "It's been two weeks already. This is impossible. WHY IS THIS MONTH SO DAMN LONG?!"
- Bargaining -- "I'll just have a few sips, then I'll run an extra six miles to sweat out the alcohol!"
- Depression -- "Sobriety sucks. Everything sucks. Where's my DVD of The Road?
- Acceptance -- "I'll just have a Diet Coke, thanks."
Irritability (scale of 0-10): 4. All work and no booze make Zach something something.
Smugness (scale of 0-10): 1, although it jumps to a 6 or 7 when I see people who are obviously hung over. Neener neener.
- Sounder sleep -- I wake up less in the middle of the night and feel more refreshed in the morning. And with that comes...
- Increased productivity -- I wake up earlier in the day, and since I don't feel like poop, there's so much more time for activities!
- Increased eating -- it would seem I've traded one vice for another. Contrary to the weight loss many doctors say comes with sobriety, the calories I would've taken in via cocktails or glasses of beer have simply transformed to more solid form. I do a lot of snacking.
- Mo' money -- do you realize how much you spend on booze every month? I didn't.
- Dumpy social life -- most of my social interactions revolve around the consumption of alcohol. So, to stay true to my promise of sobriety, I've simply stayed home on weekends to avoid temptation. This isn't a good way to keep connected with friends.
- Other people -- I don't trust people who don't drink, and I've found that most people are the same. When you're not drinking, people assume its due to something terrible -- DUI, alcoholism, pregnancy. So, when a girl took me to her friend's birthday party last week, it was simply easier to have a drink than to explain to them why I wasn't drinking and raise these assumptions. Hence, the wine.
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- Movies -- A great way to pass the hours between work and bedtime. Plus, when the movie's awful (see: In Time), you kind of feel like you're doing something bad to your body.
- Smoking -- I got a pipe for Christmas, and two or three nights a week I'll step outside and smoke it. You can take away my Scotch, Drynuary, but i have other methods of exerting my manliness.
Plans for the First Drink: A massive beer tasting. It will be wildly irresponsible, since my tolerance is way down already. Should be a lot of fun.