Thursday, December 31, 2015

DRY JANUARY MEANS LIMONADA

Limonada 
It's almost time to give up alcohol again! I've been looking forward to this for a month already. The death of someone close to me at the beginning of November started a sharp increase in alcohol consumption, not just for me, but for many of those nearest and dearest to me. Fortunately I have January 1st to help me clean up my act. I've done a "cleanse" to start the year for the last five different cleansesbut they always include quitting alcohol and now I'm wired for it.

(I want to clarify how much I've been drinking, because everyone has their own "a lot" when it comes to alcohol. My usual is two glasses of wine an evening. When I say a lot, it means I might drink a whole bottle on my own.)

What am I looking forward to? Going to bed later, getting up earlier (and easier) and better sleep in between. Plus more energy during the day, better brain function, AND being able to fasten my pants easier. As my liver recovers, I know I'll recover my waist which will make me a lot more comfortable. I'll still be grieving for a long time, but I'm ready to do it with a clear mind that isn't spending part of each day nagging me about drinking.

Yes, Dry January is a hard habit to begin, but it's amazing how functional it is for overall health. There are a million articles on it to get anyone motivated. But here's my tip for success: Pick a non-alcoholic drink that you'll look forward to having when you would usually have alcohol. For me it's limonada because I'm in Mexicothat's limeade made with either water or mineral water and a little sugarnot too much. Once that drink is in my hand, I forget that there's no alcohol in itseriously, I do.

The key is to be prepared. If I'm going to a party I pack a bottle of mineral water and some limes.

Do keep in mind that sugary beverages can be as hard on your liver, your weight and your waist as alcohol, so be careful about buying bottled sugary drinkscheck the label for sugar content. Better to mix your own drinks (and IMHO, a little real sugar is still better than artificial).

Here's to 2016. If we can't be happy, let's still be as healthy as possible. Our families and friends are depending on us.

February 1st update: DryJanuary went great for three weeks. I barely missed alcohol at all. On January 22nd though I had an emotionally challenging day and caved at dinner with friends -- drank two glasses of red wine. It helped. After that I didn't drink wine every night, but I didn't stay dry. Oh well, there's next January. Definitely not going to beat myself up... 

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