What I’ve learnt from Dry January

*Short disclaimer: I drank three times in January, technically a failure but also still of an achievement – 3 isn’t 31 people! Okay, it was four.*

I can’t be the only person that has woken up at 2pm on a Saturday afternoon, dribble down my face, a hazy memory of the evening before and a strong will to leave my own body. Manically googling jobs in Canada because the hangover guilt is so terrible that I never want to speak to anybody I may have seen again, right?

It’s no secret that Drunk Claire is ruining my life, so after the Christmas binge – I decided to embark on the daunting adventure that is Dry January. I’ve learned many things, most of which are trivial but also some important lessons that will stay with me in the future (we hope).

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Here are the things I’ve been mulling over, in this DULL and HOPELESS month:

  1. I am offered an obscene amount of free alcohol – IT’S EVERYWHERE.
  2. I get drunk for the sake of it so often – Every Friday night I leave work moulding my plans around drinking. It’s been nice to wake up feeling fresh and actually be productive on the weekend.
  3. We’re all aware that drinking is expensive but nobody seems to mention the cost of a hangover! Pot Noodles, cheeky takeaways and cherry Tango add up you know.
  4. Breaking the seal is nothing compared to drinking two pints of water. This entire month has been a constant trip to the bathroom.
  5. With that being said, we drink an excessive amount of liquid during an average night out. In what world would you drink 6 pints of juice in the space of four hours? (Worried about exposing my binge drinking to the world – obviously, have never had 6 pints in one day😳)15032892_10154042472241662_2050351731904795784_n
  6. Cooking is more fun with wine and The Pointer Sisters. That is a fact.
  7. Hangovers have a much bigger effect than I’d ever thought. I found that I still feel horrendous on a Wednesday if I’ve been drinking Friday and Saturday and I’ve found a definite improvement in my sleeping pattern and energy.
  8. AND my mood. I’m sure many of you have had a grumpy moment during a night out or woken up in the morning hating absolutely everything about your life. I think we often forget that alcohol is a depressant and it does have negative side effects if abused.17498438_1323542611058619_209970759052647722_n.jpg
  9. I was excited about losing some weight with ease as this is supposed to be one of the perks of putting down the drinks. This didn’t happen, but with that being said – I have replaced drinking with eating great food 6 times a day soooo…
  10. Whilst we’re on the subject – I’ve realised this month that I am never going to go to the gym. This was my chance to finally step on a cross-trainer (or whatever it is that you healthy folk do) and I just didn’t. I’ll just stick to always choosing the stairs I guess.3.jpg
  11. Loads of TV shows revolve around dating. I’m putting this in here as I’ve spent a small sum of this month filling pub-time with The Naked Attraction, First Dates and One Night with My Ex. In hindsight, drinking is probably better for my health.
  12.  There is plenty of time in the day, I am just failing to be productive.
  13. When I have made it out to the pub, I’ve found that it really is no different. I just tend to sing ABBA slightly less.
  14. I’ve always thought that I’ve relied on alcohol for confidence and although I think this is absolutely the case in some situations, this month has given me the understanding that there are social situations in which I am completely comfortable sober. It’s reaffirmed my knowlege that there is no point in me getting blind drunk just to have fun – which is something that I will be trying my very best not to do from now on.
  15. I remember the first time I ever tasted vodka – I was convinced that I’d never drink because alcohol tastes RANK. I’ve found that this is no longer the case and I actually enjoy the taste of some alcohol. Particularly; red wine, prosecco and a chilled Red Stripe. (Check me out being so grown up)
  16. My final lesson has to be that January 2018 has lasted for ten months. I can’t be the only person that has been counting down the days of Jan and honestly, I don’t think it’s because I haven’t been drinking, it’s just a dreary month in general.

This has definitely been a positive experience, particularly as I’ve found it much easier than I thought I would. It’s a work in progress but it has improved my attitude towards alcohol which can only be a good thing. Alongside this, it has also urged me to try and keep trying to better my health and wellbeing where I can, so maybe you will see some gym selfies on the old gram after all.

I find that we have an unhealthy drinking culture in Britain, we’re encouraged to drink from such a young age and the idea that it is directly linked with having fun is instilled into us from the very beginning. I’m not saying that we should be alcohol free health nuts that eat hemp seeds and spend their weekends at craft fairs (actually me tho) but I think there could be great benefits from cutting down and improving our approach to drinking.

PSA: You are good at being an “adult.”

In the fear of exclusivity I feel that it’s important to mention that obviously not all of these things are do-able for everybody – life is cruel and just outright unfair at times. But if you’re doing at least one of these things, take pride in your accomplishments and remind yourself that you are moving forward

You’re on your way home from work, you’re tired, frustrated and questioning when your life became so utterly draining. You think back to a time of pure bliss, running around in the sun all day – eating colossal amounts of junk without a care in the world. What’s were the worst things in your life? Being #6 on your BFFL’s myspace top friends and knowing you’ll have to eat cauliflower for dinner. Bliss. Although I think we can all agree it didn’t feel that way at the time.

We all have these days, cursing adulthood. Are you doing enough? Are you seeing enough? Is your life flashing by before your eyes whilst you’re spending everyday sitting in the same place, watching the same TV shows and drinking in the same pubs? Well, yes. Yes it probably is. Which is exactly why I think it’s important to take pride in the little things – the achievements you make every single day. Signifiers that you are actually pretty good at this adulting thing.

So with this I ask you to close down Instagram, stop overthinking the future and take a second to sit and think about how good you are at life.

Paying Rent – 

Ah yes, rent. The evil word we wish we could all avoid for as long as physically possible, because realistically who actually wants more than a third of their monthly earnings taken from them to fulfil their basic human needs? It’s ridiculous. Yet, unfortunately unavoidable.

The fact that you’re paying your rent and bills each month is brilliant. Annoying, yes. But also pretty impressive if you ask me.

Eating real food – 

I had strange realisation the other day which sparked this entire post – I could eat cookies for dinner. I’m completely in charge of my own life and wellbeing, if I wanted to, I could eat sweet treats for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Instead I make sure I eat my five-a-day, I bought a blender to improve my everyday diet, I USE CHIA SEEDS. ADULT.

Forgiving friends and letting things go – 

Do you remember being in secondary school and falling out with your friends every other week for completely stupid reasons? Maybe you sat next to somebody else on the bus during a school trip and it caused an explosive argument? *still apologising for this one 8 years on – it was just one bus journey Sammy, forever sorry, love me*

Anyway, noticing that these silly fall outs are irrelevant and learning to not sweat the small stuff is important in the art of growing up – otherwise nobody would get along. Oh, wait.

Leaving the pub after one drink – 

Obviously this is still something I’m terrible at and I don’t mean for one second that having alcohol related fun makes you any less of an adult. Embrace the pub. Have a jagerbomb for lunch. Whyever not! BUT on the rare occasions that you actually have something important to do the next morning, controlling that little person that tells you to do shots and going home early is an achievement if ever I saw one. 50 extra points if it’s a full on party. 100 if the person you fancy is there.

Crawling into work hungover –

On the flipside – we all find ourselves going out for one drink, walking home singing and preparing a questionable sandwich on a Wednesday night. Are you useless at work the next day? Of course. But did you call in sick? No, you didn’t! Because you’re an adult who appreciates their job. Proud of you!

Applying suncream

I learnt this lesson the hard way, with a white circle outlined on my chest after standing in a line to enter Boomtown for hours. Attempting to sleep in a tent with a completely burnt torso is NO FUN. Drink all the gin you can stomach and I promise you, you will still feel uncomfortable trying to drift off – not to mention everything will be covered in suncream because you learnt from your mistakes TOO LATE.

Wearing suncream without it being forced upon you is not only responsible but incredibly sensible. Classic adult behaviour.

Edit: have not learnt from my mistakes. Spent hours on the beach earlier with completely bare skin. Luckily living in England.

Understanding that everybody is different – 

I think it’s easy as a child to get confused about why things aren’t going your way and why people respond differently to everyday situations. Learning that everybody is a sum of their own individual experiences and using this to improve your own impressions and mentalities of different people is great.

Buying things you don’t actually want – 

Recognising that although you don’t want to spend £6 on cough medicine, it will make you feel better so you probably should is fantastic adulting. Who actually wants to buy a hoover? Nobody! Of course we’d rather spend our money on trainers – but we don’t. Why? Because we’re adults. Or, perhaps you get both because you’re unaffected by today’s crippling economy and housing crisis. Lucky.

Big up yourself, you may still feel like a teenager, getting drunk and singing classic Britney might give you the most joy in the world and that’s okay! Just remember on those bad days, you’re doing well!