When you do “Dry January”
IT’S FEBRUARY! PASS THE GIN.
Yup, I did #DryJanuary. That’s right, me. I haven’t had a drink of alcohol for 31 days.
Everyone knows that I like a drink, and let’s face it, it’s no secret that I love gin, so what happened?
It started on a whim, after a rather ridiculous “quiet drink at the pub” with a couple of friends. Four bottles of wine later, I woke up with a raging hangover, and the feeling that perhaps my liver might break free and run at any moment. The thought bubbled in the back of my mind but one bacon sandwich and a day on my mum’s sofa later, I forgot about it.
Then came Christmas, and the usual over indulgence of food and drink, I was cooking dinner, and as I topped up my glass of “cooking wine” I realised that I’d got into bad habits. So I texted my friend and said “Are you sitting down…?”, turns out she was, and that she’d been thinking about doing it too. So we made a finger promise (over imessage and probably a large glass of wine) and left it unspoken.
This is where I admit that I totally hoped she was so drunk that she’d forgotten.
A few days later, before New Years Eve, we tentatively confirmed neither had forgotten and decided “LET’S DO IT” .
Now, you know me, I tend to have a drink every night, a gin, a glass of wine, maybe both, but I never really go out and binge (although I’ve had a few evenings out over the last few months where I’ve suffered), but recently I realised my tolerance for my nightly drink had been steadily increasing, one “pre-dinner” glass of gin turned into two, a glass of wine turned into half a bottle each, and then afterwards, my hot chocolate or fruit tea? That was perhaps a sloe gin, or similar. Oh, and of course there was Fizz Friday.
Basically, I was going way over what I think is a healthy level for somebody of my build, and it wasn’t impacting me at all.
So how have I done?
I must admit, the first day was a bit tough, drumming my fingers on the kitchen counter as I gazed into the fridge trying to find something that inspired me. I just cannot drink tea or coffee in the evening, or squash, I drink it all day. Finally I settled for a tonic water and a slice of lime. Woop. Sparkling water with dinner (in a wine glass), and then afterwards, when we were crashing out in front of the TV, instead of my nice big glass of red wine, I opted for a Warm Ribena.
Week One DONE – surviving my first Fizz Friday along with it.
I texted my friend half way through week 2 “this isn’t actually an issue is it?!” we agreed we’d slipped out of the habit, and were patting ourselves on the back, then on Saturday night I made a yummy dinner, and realised I was a bit irritable, no cooking wine, and no glass of red to have with my lovely italian.
We didn’t have italian for the rest of the month.
Week three? PAH I only have one more week to go.
With the exception of catching an old episode of Sex and The City and craving one of my favourite Gin Cosmopolitans, I was feeling pretty darn smug.
Not a good week. Perhaps a week too long, I wanted a glass of wine to celebrate some good news with work, I wanted a gin and tonic to commiserate a particularly shit bit of news, but I DID IT! I DID IT! I DID IT YEAH! (Imagine that to the Dora song…you’re welcome.)
Then last night, I was a bit naughty, I ended my Dry January on Friday 31st January, at about 7.30pm. I knew I was going to, my mum had the boys, it was cold, wet and rainy, and I’D JUST MADE ADRIAN CHILES LAUGH (I think) when they featured me on Radio 5 live talking about how I’d survived Dry January (you can listen again here I’m right at the end around 18:50).
Oh don’t judge me.
I was going to stay up until midnight for my first gin and tonic anyway, and with the kids away, we all know I’d be asleep before then, so it was just a TECHNICALITY. Plus, it’s not like I caved and was caught swigging gin out of the bottle, no, I celebrated my month with my favourite gin, my gin which saw me write “the end” on a first draft, the gin that saw me get my first sale on “Survival of the Ginnest” and the gin that makes the best darn G&T I know.
Do you feel better for it? I got asked after I’d been going a few days. My answer to that is sadly No. I had secretly hoped that by doing this I would be a skinny morning person. Turns out I am neither of these things.
Did I do it just to prove I could do it? Probably a little bit if I’m honest, anyone who is used to drinking every day must question whether they can stop if they want to, and I can.
Will I go back to my old ways? No I don’t think so. Part of my “problem” with the amount of drink I was consuming was, in all honesty, I didn’t really know what else to drink. Like I said, I don’t like tea and coffee etc. in the evening, but I’ve discovered that if I’m thirsty a nice tonic water is nearly as good, and warm Ribena is actually quite relaxing.
So what now?
Now I’m going to make myself a Raspberry G&T and have a relax. I will probably have a glass of wine with my dinner too, but after that, when we settle down in front of the TV to watch another episode of Breaking Bad – I’ll be snuggled down with a big mug of Warm Ribena.
Millers Gin kindly sent me a bottle of gin to try – I’ve been waiting for a very special moment to write about how much I’m in love with it, and this felt apt.