Reflections on Dry January: A Journey to Health, Sobriety, and Self-Discovery

As the calendar turned to a new year, I found myself contemplating my relationship with alcohol. After what felt like a year dominated by indulgence, I made the decision to embrace both Dry January and No Spend January. Fate, or perhaps a touch of irony, played its part as I spent the initial weeks fighting a plague of influenza in my home, providing an unexpected advantage to my newfound resolutions.

The desire for a refreshing cocktail lingered, tempting me to join friends for a glass of wine or indulge in a cozy evening on the couch with my favorite TV show. Despite these cravings, I persevered. 

Many questioned the rationale behind attempting a month free of booze. For me, it all boiled down to health. Acknowledging the liver as one of the body's hardest-working organs, I realized the importance of giving it a little time off. Research revealed that it takes three days for the body to detoxify after consuming each alcoholic beverage, making it evident that I wasn't affording my body this necessary recovery time frequently enough.

Now, as the month has come to a close, some people inquire about any noticeable changes. I find myself reflecting on the subtle yet significant transformations. Surprisingly, interactions with friends remained enjoyable, even without the crutch of a cocktail. What did change, however, was my sleep quality. Previously plagued by sleep apnea flare-ups, I now find myself enjoying more restful nights.

The positive effects extended beyond sleep, impacting my skin as well. Even during hormonal times of the month, my skin was clearer and brighter. Financially, the burden on my wallet lightened; not being tempted by the newest organic wine at target or added on drink with our date night bill. 

Did I indulge in mocktails? Absolutely. Zevia sodas, especially the creamy root beer, and diet ginger beer mixed with soda and a hint of citrus, became my go-to alternatives. I also discovered a variety of non-alcoholic blends that offered both mocktail in a can and nonalcoholic aperitif's. A personal favorite is Kin, specifically the nightcap blend which had the aded benefits of melatonin. The perfect sleep aid when mixed with a soothing concoction of almond milk, cinnamon, and a dash of sweetener. 

Another new staple for my night time routine is the Golden Milk Latte, featuring turmeric, ginger, clove, cinnamon, and milk of choice with a sweetener like honey, agave, or stevia.

As the month concludes, the question arises: will I continue Dry January into February? The answer is no. However, armed with newfound knowledge about the health benefits, I plan to be more aware of my alcohol consumption. Opting for cleaner wine varieties and practicing moderation will be key.

Looking ahead, I intend to incorporate sporadic cleanses throughout the year, offering my liver intermittent breaks and steering clear of any reliance on alcohol. To celebrate our month of sobriety, my husband and I have decided to share a drink together, marking a moment of celebration in our married lives.

As the journey unfolds, I invite you to reflect on your own relationship with alcohol. Did you embark on Dry January, and do you plan to extend it into Dry February? Life is a series of choices, and sometimes, a reason to look forward to something new is all we need to make a positive change.

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