I’m currently on day 16 of Dry January (I started late!) and it’s got me thinking about booze…Before giving birth I was enjoying not drinking and thought I would carry on my mostly t-total life. I had completely forgotten the very essence of my DNA; all or nothing. So, needless to say, after giving birth I’d have a little drink here and there, to relax and unwind with my husband, particularly after a bad day/night. Before I knew it I was right back in there.

Dry Janurary - 4 lessons I learnt from doing Dry January!

Christmas Day – soldering through a 2-day hangover

After 2 weeks of Dry January, I thought I’d share my “Dry January Observations”…

Dry January Observations

1. Mood

I mentioned drinking ‘after a bad day’ above, as there were times when Reuben was really little when I felt like utter shit. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I felt hopeless, etc. etc. so I would have a drink in the evening to make me feel better, more human and enjoy being with Mike. These are all signs of postnatal depression and they are very common in early pregnancy (you can read about my baby blues here and luckily for me it didn’t last very long). The NHS page on feeling depressed after childbirth specifically says to avoid alcohol. In fact, and I find this fascinating, they say:

“[Alcohol is] a depressant that affects your mood, judgment, self-control and co-ordination.”

I knew it! Yes, I fall over more, but more interestingly my judgment and self-control is also under attack.

At this point I’m well beyond postnatal depression but I’m not beyond depression. At certain times of the month I can feel like the pits, and I think it’s related to my period, which is not something I suffered before giving birth. So it makes sense to avoid alcohol, especially during that time, because it is a depressant.

So far in Dry January I feel much happier in myself and more motivated. I recognise now what naff company I generally am!

2. Judgment and self-control

I don’t believe I can be the only person who once they’ve had a glass of wine, wants to crack open the crisps or chocolate or sweets or whatever your food vice is? I can be very self-controlled, but never when I’m drinking alcohol. So, not only do I eat more than I normally would, but my judgment is impaired so I eat bad things!

The other thing I seem unable to control is when to stop drinking. ‘A glass’ can very quickly turn into ‘anything and everything that is alcoholic’. Including the disgusting cinnamon flavoured vodka with gold flecks that we keep meaning to throw out.

You often hear people saying Dry January isn’t that hard but try and pick it back up after you’ve fallen off the wagon. That’s hard! And, 2 weeks sans alcohol has made me realise how fragile my self-control button is. It is a delicate little thing that holds on with all its might when I ask it to but one swift kick and it’s had it.

3. Am I an alcoholic?

There are different terms related to alcohol, amongst others: Alcoholic; Alcohol Dependency; and Alcohol abuse.

Alcoholic seems a bit extreme. I’m not, after all, waking up in the morning and having a bucks fizz. But dependent? Do I feel like I need alcohol to have a good time when I’m out? Do I feel like I need alcohol to watch Boardwalk Empire? Hmm. Both yes…

Are many of us dependent in some way, then? My drinking habits don’t seem to be that different from everyone else’s. You can flick onto instagram every night and your feed is full of delicious looking Chinin Blancs fresh from the fridge or full-bodied Riojas in huge glasses. But maybe they can stop after that one glass? Maybe they don’t finish the bottle and then either run to the shop 5 minutes before it closes or hunt about in the pantry for more alcohol, any alcohol?

In this article by XOJane, 20 REAL SIGNS YOU MIGHT BE AN ALCOHOLIC, BECAUSE I’M THREE YEARS SOBER TODAY, after a quick read and before I’d even got to the 20 real signs, this line hit me between the eyes:

“For me, the definition of alcoholism is essentially that I can’t stop once I have the first drink.”

For the most part, that’s me. Forever seems a really long time but given my inability to call it a night, maybe it’s in my and my family’s best interest?

4. Weight loss

There are 510 calories in a bottle of red wine. It stands to reason that when I drink a lot of alcohol I struggle to lose weight. If you add to that a lack of judgment and self-control, I then also eat crap. I eat that night and then I eat away my hangover with more naughty things!

I thought during Dry January that the weight would just drop off. It hasn’t thus far, but at least I’m not gaining any! And I think with my new found motivation and general get up and go, I’m hoping to find it pretty easy to reach my New Year 2014 Resolution to lose a stone by my Birthday.

 

That’s kind of it so far. I guess the alcoholic section was a bit of a curve ball, but if you can’t soul search in January, when can you?

Have you been taking part in Dry January? How have you found it and do you have any observations of your own?

I’m linking this up with the ladies at #allaboutyou! And, happily my link up from last week, My Reading List 2014, has been featured on both Mama – And More’s blog AND City Girl at Heart’s blog!

Update: Since I wrote this post, it was chosen by Luci (formerly at Mother.Wife.Me) as her featured blog for #allaboutyou – chuffed!!

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