Featured post

Day 1 – Come As You Are Not

Welcome to Dryuary 2017!  We are going to spend this month together, our little band, on a journey many of us never expected to take- To spend all of January without drinking alcohol. Dryuary asks everyone to make the decision to invest in themselves as a healthier, more productive person. During this month, our daily posts can provide both encouragement and context for the experience we will be sharing. There will be a lot to read. Your comments are also valuable, and can help others – We invite you to use our anonymous Comment system to add remarks to each post, or to use the “Secret Name” Janet to register and post at the Dryuary Forum. It’s going to be a ride – and we are glad you are along with us.


match-631727__340

My friend Cristian always throws a terrific New Year’s Eve party at his home in New Jersey with the theme “Come As You Are NOT.”  Come As You Are NOT is open to wide interpretation.  One year, a guy came as a magician because he was a terrible juggler. Arthur always came as some variation of Morpheus… he is tall, handsome, amazingly cool dude who likes trench coats, so it wasn’t quite “NOT”, but we let him get away with it. After attending 10 or so consecutive Come As You Are NOTs repurposing various halloween costumes and ideas ranging from Pregnant! Not! to Tall! Not!, one year I simply wore blue contact lenses.  I’m not blue eyed.

On December 31, 2001, I was with my closest friends at Cristian’s.  It had been a tough year.  Cristian was on an airplane flying to California when the planes hit the towers on September 11.  He was on JetBlue, so all the passengers on his plane were watching the headrest screens of live news coverage.  It was terrifying.  Friends knew people who were killed in New York.  Others had lost jobs.  One person had lost a parent to cancer.  But we all Came As We Were NOT – carefree and ready to celebrate friendship and ring in the new year.

Cristian greeted us with a “2001” poster board, strips of paper, and markers.  On the poster board, he asked us to write about things we hated, things we wanted to let go of, things that had hurt us.  And on the strips of paper, he asked us to write the same, but also to memorialize those things that were more personal, remembrances we did not want to share about 2001, but that we wanted to trash.

At midnight, we burned them.  We burned the poster board of hateful and awful things from the previous year.  We burned all the individual, personal strips of paper writ with terrible things.  And we cried and laughed and hugged and felt a little bit renewed for 2002.

2016 has been a difficult year for me and, I’m sure, for some others.  And for some of us, it has been a joyful, blessed year.  But for all of us, I’d wager, there are likely things we don’t want to repeat in 2017.  And there are 2016 events we might want to destroy in a positive, cathartic fashion.

So on this first day of 2017, I encourage you to reply with how, in 2017, you are going to Come As You Were Not in 2016.  I’m NOT going to put off meditating to the end of the day.  I’m NOT going to drink as often as I did in 2016.

Second, I encourage you to reply with those things you’d like to burn on **Micro’s Imaginary Strikingly Gigantic But Completely Safe Bonfire**. I’m burning the ill feelings I have toward people who don’t think like I do.  I’m burning the health scares in my immediate family.

And for those personal things you want to burn but not share aloud, write each of them on an imaginary strip of paper.  Squeeze those imaginary papers into little balls in your hand, and silently throw them on our Bonfire.

Stand back with me, friends, and let’s watch our Imaginary Strikingly Gigantic But Completely Safe Bonfire BLAZE.

Here’s to everyone’s better 2017!

Written and submitted by Moderation Management Member Micro

 

Featured post

Day 2 – Time to Steer

Many of you are just curious what health and other benefits you might see from taking a month-long break from alcohol. Good for you! Many of us are surprised at the subtle and not-so-subtle changes. Donna will talk more about those tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Bruce has a message for those of us who may have binged on New Year’s Eve:

How many times have you woken up with a hangover? If you’re like me, you’ve had more than your share of such mornings over the years. And if you’re like me, on most of those mornings you were probably more than a little bit mad and irritated and frustrated with yourself for putting yourself in such a miserable state of being. As if there were two of you: the night-you who is a self-indulgent pleasure seeker, consequences be damned, and the poor suffering morning-you who just wants to wake up feeling good and productive for once if that isn’t too much to ask, thank you. If you’re like me, on many of those mornings you engaged in an imaginary conversation with the you who was responsible for the hangovers, trying to talk some sense so that the cycle of indulgence followed by regret might be broken. It’s been said many times on this forum: in the morning you never regret the drinks you didn’t have the night before. Unfortunately, when you really need to hear those words, the morning-you has turned into the night-you, like Jekyll into Hyde, and the cycle continues.

Now that you’re taking a break from alcohol, you’re finally giving the morning-you the voice and position of power it deserves. Reflect on that each morning as you get ready for the day: how happy morning-you is to finally be in the driver’s seat, how proud it is of night-you for giving it this long overdue break, and a chance to prove it was right all along. You ARE better, not just in the morning but the whole day: when you get off to a good start, all of you benefits all day long. The more you give morning-you a voice, the stronger it becomes, less hesitant, less shell-shocked. As that voice gets stronger, maybe it will finally be able to stand up to the irrational demands night-you may make when you return to drinking, be less likely to submissively give in.

Are you still afraid that you might revert to your old habits at the end of this month, or maybe even tonight, that the night-you might take control again? Here’s an idea: most of us have a video camera on our person at all times (i.e., a smart phone) so why don’t you go ahead and let morning-you really talk to that other you? Make a short recording of yourself telling the other you how good you feel, how proud you are of yourself for not drinking the night before, how you had the power to do it. Imagine the kinds of objections you might have when you are thinking of drinking, and talk yourself out of it. You know best the kinds of arguments that work best on you. And if or when you feel that voice getting weak, pull out that recording and listen to yourself. Take this opportunity to truly give voice to the thoughts and feelings that are your own. You really do know what’s best and it’s about time that voice was heard.

This post was contributed by MM Forum’s Bruce

Featured post

Day 3 – Get a Baseline

“Life can be pulled by goals just as surely as it can be pushed by drives” Viktor E. Frank

You don’t need to have an alcohol use disorder (http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders) to benefit from a break from alcohol. You may notice subtle health issues you never connected to alcohol.  Get a baseline today, so you can compare later this month, to see what alcohol is or isn’t doing to/for you:

Brain: Are you anxious, irritable, too perky, sad, hopeless, distractible, restless, grandiose, impulsive, depressed, easily defeated, low energy (trash won’t take itself out)?

Sleep: Do you need alcohol to get to sleep?  Do you wake in the middle of the night?  If you use something like a FitBit, do you notice a difference in how you sleep when you drink?

Physical:  How does your stomach feel?  Any irritation in upper or lower tummy (e.g., heartburn)?  Gas or bloating? Allergies?

Vanity:  Are there dark circles or bags under your eyes?  How does your skin look (color, dryness, tone)?

Interpersonal:  How are you getting along with your loved ones?  Are you less patient the day after you drink?  Do you over-react? Less predictable?

Hang in there and see what happens later this month in these areas.

If something pushes your buttons, and you find yourself really wanting a drink, try “urge surfing.”  Harm-reduction pioneer G Alan Marlatt noted that urges for substance-use rarely last longer than 30 minutes. If you can “surf” the urge – observe it without acting – you can usually ride it out.  Try it:  When you notice an urge to drink come up, don’t slap it down.  Watch it.  Mentally pick it up and turn it around, looking at it.  Listen to what the urge tells you, without acting on it.  See how you feel one hour from now.  Did the urge subside like a wave?  Was the need to act on it as urgent as it seemed to be at the peak of it?

Hang in there.  This month is an experiment, to see if taking a break from alcohol helps you achieve some of your goals.  Many people find it to be a very worthwhile investment.

This post was submitted by MM Forum’s Donna

Featured post

Day 4 – Getting Through 31 Days Without Drinking

Here is how Melinda got through her 31 day break from drinking:

First things first. Sounds corny, but it made all the difference in my 31 days. I did it because “I said I would”. Yeah, I’ve made those promises to myself in the past, but always gave in to the “negotiator”. More on that later. But for now, I want to thank Dee for inviting me, and also for letting me know that I would not derail her efforts if I failed. That gave me the courage to try, and because I’m a person of my word, and I made a commitment to Dee, I followed through. Simple as that. Was it easy – hell no. It sucked at the beginning. But, I had company, and I wanted to succeed. For once I wasn’t scared of success. THANK YOU Dee, and to everyone here who joined us or cheered us on.

Some strategies I employed, in no particular order:

I got up early, 3 hours before I had to start work. During this time:

  • I logged into The Forum.
  • I journaled in a brand new journal I purchased specifically for my 31 days.
  • I tried the “Calm” App for meditation.
  • I increased my morning walking time from 20 minutes to 40+ minutes.
  • I started the “Ripped” DVD – doing it 3x a week with light weights.

I urge surfed:

  • I colored in my adult coloring book.I pulled out my beading supplies and re-learned how to do things. I made a bracelet (next up a tracking bracelet – more on that later).
  • I bought a SODUKU book and actually used it.
  • I swam in my pool (note – I swam – not floated. No arms to hold a drink while swimming vs. floating).
  • I went for a walk around the block after work (I work at home)
  • I went for a walk around the block after dinner
  • I did NOT join my husband at the neighborhood bar after work.That sucked, but I’m over it now.
  • I researched new dinner recipes.
  • I named that little gremlin, you know that negotiator that says “just one won’t hurt”. Her name – and she’s not worthy of a real name, but I call her the “puffy bitch”. You know, the one with the fat face, the bloodshot eyes, the red nose, the gray skin. What a bitch. She’s sneaky. I don’t like her. She’s mean. She steals my memory. She steals my kindness, my patience, my appreciation for life and loved ones. Like I said, she’s a bitch. Have I told you how I really feel about her?

I replaced my drinks:

  • N/A beers in the home fridge, and while out at restaurants/bars. Yes, I’m a beer snob, and they suck, but it makes it easy to stick to one then switch – by then the uncomfortable feelings have passed.
  • I discovered Komuchu Ginger-ade. It has a kick. I put it in a wine glass with sparkling soda, or in a frosty beer mug straight up. Wish they had this at bars.
  • Insider tip – Invest in K-Cups. I used to drink 2 cups a day. Now, I’ve stopped counting. I guess that’s my next challenge to cut down.
  • I drink more water. Loaded the “Daily Water” app. Makes a gulping sound when you click on the glass. Corny, but it makes me want to get my waters in.
  • I found a great seafood bar that serves N/A wine. “Fre”. It also sucks, but it’s the whole ambiance of wine with food. It works. Easy to only have one.
  • I have made a list of over a dozen things I want to try – now that I don’t have to plan around – I can’t do that/drive there – it will interfere with my drinking.

This post was contributed by MM Forum’s Melinda

Featured post

Day 5 – Bring Out The Power Tools


Inspirational Song of the Day:
Atmosphere – Pour Me Another

“When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.”
 – The 14th Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso

Some people don’t have any problem staying away from alcohol. For them, it’s simply a choice. I am not built that way; it does not seem to be my nature- I like to drink, and no amount of convincing has persuaded me otherwise.

But- I simply have to get my habits under control. I have responsibilities. My family is dependant on me; we have property to protect. Practically speaking, I simply don’t have time to drink like I used to. I have to change, although I don’t want to. When the going gets tough, I bring out some painfully learned Truths and get to work.

Manage Your Perspective

  • So much of what goes on with social drinking involves perceptions and expectations. Although your environment may not change, you can adjust your own reactions and respond better. It’s not natural, but the result is an appropriate response that maintains the goals you set for yourself.
  • Do people know you are not drinking? Do they care? First of all, it is none of their business. Secondly, for the most part people don’t care, and if they do that is their problem not yours. Last, if you are holding a seltzer and lime (put some bitters in it!), a Virgin Mary, or an NA beer you look exactly the same as all the other people drinking around you.
  • Is alcohol really that important? Are you bored or unsatisfied without it? Maybe this is simply a situation you do not have to be in right now.
  • Life is long, and humans can change. At different times in our lives we are different people. Give yourself a break, and accept the time and space you need to change.
  • Made a mistake? We are not machines. Learn from the experience, and try to do better the next time. You only fail when you stop trying.

Tricks and Tips

  • I like to think about the experience I am planning with people who are drinking beforehand. I try to make plans about what I might drink, who I may see, what conversations we could have. Social events are so much smoother if I go in with a plan and a set of expectations for myself.
  • Figure out what non-alcoholic (NA) beverages are available. Sometimes you can be surprised- Daiquiri mix, for example, can be tasty. I like very hot V8 juice with lots of tabasco. In a pinch, water (with a twist of lemon?) works just fine. And if you are in doubt, bring something- but expect the Sparkling Cider to disappear right away.
  • Decide ahead of time how the evening will end. All things will end, but it really helps to plan ahead for when you must go.

Win and have a Great Tomorrow
Victories don’t have to be huge.
Sometimes the important successes can appear at first to be small. Celebrate your victories!

A pleasant evening out and a good night’s sleep.
Remembering everything and everyone you met.
Leaving without controversy and with a clear head.
Being safe, and respecting loved ones and friends.

This post was contributed by Kurt S.

 

Featured post

Day 6 – Rckaye’s Manifesto On Day 31

As you close in on your first week without alcohol, you might appreciate fast-forwarding a few weeks in the eyes of someone who has been there. Here is Rckaye’s manifesto:

It’s 1:52am and I just got home from the karaoke bar. Unless a maraschino cherry saturated with watered-down tom collins counts as drinking, I successfully completed my 31 days. This entire time, I’ve been thinking about how I will document this moment, how I will feel as I type this. Someone in our phone meetings even addresses it as “that magical moment” when there has been no alcohol in your system for 31 days and a switch in your brain flips.

There’s no actual switch, but there’s definitely a gradual progression. For starters, everything I thought I knew about myself was wrong. There’s something to be said for looking at oneself objectively, which is near impossible until one’s situation changes enough to where they can look back on their past self with new eyes. I was a mess. I’ve been a mess for a long time. Drinking was only covering up the mess with a think security blanket, hoping nobody will see the lumps that remain.

Full disclaimer: My doctor upped my meds last week, so that could have contributed to these new eyes. Also, as recommended, I’ve spent the past 31 days developing new healthy habits that promote mindfulness and mental stability. I already exercised and did yoga (7 minute yoga app, you’re welcome), and for the most part I ate fairly well. I am incredibly privileged in that I do not have a significant other, children, or family to stress me out. My job isn’t that bad either. My problem drinking was (is) purely social, to alleviate the anxiety of talking to people and holding a conversation.

I am not a good verbal communicator. I missed that day when they were handing out social skills. It’s not awkward introversion, which can be endearing; it’s downright uncomfortable. I never know when it’s okay to speak, so I interrupt or wait so long that I’ve forgotten what I wanted to say or the topic has changed. I’ve participated in small talk for so long at work that it’s an automatic script, but it usually goes beyond that with friends. I have strong opinions about today’s social climate that most people don’t want to hear. I make cynical, sarcastic jokes that people don’t think are funny. And, unless someone else happens to be into discussing gender, sexuality, or the handful of media I don’t find problematic, I don’t have anything in common with anyone.

When I would drink, I became more superficial. I could care about whatever someone wanted to talk about. I was open with my feelings, even though I didn’t understand them. (I still don’t. I wasn’t there the day they handed out the emotion manual either.) I built amazing relationships and even dated for a while. I grew to dislike the person I was when I was sober. I pretty much disassociated the two, where “sober me” would look forward to “drunk me” coming out after work or on the weekends. When I started my medication, I had some bad experiences adjusting to my lower tolerance, but a few months ago I’d gotten it worked out.

Then I crashed my car. Then I slept with my ex-datefriend, for whom I still have feelings (that I don’t understand). Both of those things happened the same night, actually. I was following them home from the karaoke bar, going a different way than I usually took, and I misjudged a turn and wiped out most of the front right side of my car on some tree roots that had grown on the side of the road. The total damage was $5240; the deductible was $500. I still have the invoice on my refrigerator to remind me of this lapse in judgment. I was incredibly lucky that I didn’t get hurt, or that I didn’t hurt anyone else or damage someone’s property.

I started my 31 days on august 11th. My last alcoholic drink was a pomegranate wine slushie at the local winery the evening before. Since then, there were only a few times I actively wanted to drink, and they were all within the first week when it was still a go-to compulsion to cope with my feelings. Getting drunk didn’t make me feel better anymore, and when I look back on the past couple years of my life, it never really did. Sure, a drink can be relaxing, a nice vacation from the real world, but it’s not going to make the feelings go away. It won’t make someone love me. It won’t help me learn how to express myself effectively and not give a f**k what anyone thinks. It may have made me a fun-loving, more tolerating person, but the next morning I woke up the same old me, now with a new and improved headache.

For the past four weeks, I have been working on building back up my confidence (which I used to have in spades, let me tell you) and reprogramming my brain to look at things differently. I read cognitive behavioral therapy for dummies, am making my way through responsible drinking, and i’m almost done with the magical life-changing art of not giving a f**k. The higher SSRI dosage suppresses my indignant rage, which I would peg as the main cause of my frustration with friends and coworkers. When I don’t care about being disrespected or having my self-worth threatened by others, life is pretty damn pleasant.

I’m far from done. Tomorrow, I start moderating, and I have mixed feelings about it. It seems pointless to only drink 2 beers, which is the limit I have given myself based on my tolerance. Not to mention, I live in a state where the government regulates alcohol sales and anything less than a 12 pack isn’t economical. Logically, it makes more sense (and saves money) to not drink at all. I may end up going permanent abs, but I want to at least try moderation. There are alcoholic drinks I genuinely enjoy for the taste, and I still want that relaxation and real-world vacation a couple times a week. With everything going on lately, it’s almost unhealthy not to have that occasional freedom from stress, to forget about the horrors and injustices for a while. I just need to learn to not go overboard. I need to be okay with only having 2 drinks, and I don’t know that i’ll ever get there.

It is now 2:49am and I need to get to bed if I want to be up early to walk before class. If you read all of this, thank you! I read other people’s posts too, though I don’t always know what to say. We all may be fighting different demons, but the battle is the same. Having more people on your side makes the demons seem much smaller.

This post was contributed by MM Forum’s Rckaye

Note: The original post has been adapted to fit Dryuary’s specifications and/or for easier readability
Featured post

Day 7 – Fly


Inspirational Song of the Day: R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
– J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

Welcome to Day 7!

Can I ask you a few questions?

Why are you here?

Do you feel like you need to be here?

Or, do you want to be here?

Either reason is a good one, but, as two different points from which we can start this month, they have a huge influence over where we arrive at the end of this month. More importantly, it makes a huge difference in the journey.

Are you here to escape the pain drinking can bring, but can’t think of any place to run to? Has drinking become your only refuge?

Or, are you here to discover other places of refuge? Some place other than a bottle in which to immerse yourself?

For most of us, this month will not be easy. And, yes, there will be times, in the first few days, when we think we’re not getting anywhere. We might stumble. That’s okay. As babies learning to walk, we stumbled lots, but we got right back up, didn’t we? You might fall. That’s okay, too. As a kid learning to ride a bike, I bet you fell, didn’t you? Of course you did. I’ll also bet you finally learned how to ride a bike, right? Because you didn’t give up. No matter how many skinned knees or how much road rash you suffered. Because you wanted to learn so bad. Because the reward was worth every bit of the pain.

It is our nature to persevere, then, triumph.  Drinking can too often persuade us to stay in the stumbling stage and on the ground when our hearts keep saying, “Fly!”

We could use this month to just concentrate on not stumbling and falling. By not drinking, we will avoid the hangovers, the fights with our spouse or significant other, the invariable tiredness that dogs our days, the irksome guilt trips, the bewildering feelings of shame that persist no matter how many times we tell ourselves we’re no worse than the next guy-no matter how many times the next guy tells us we’re not that bad, to quit making a big deal of our drinking…All that in itself could be reward enough. We could even hope by just accomplishing damage control, permanent change will come.  Our bodies and mind might heal enough. As might our relationships. We might even enter February with firm intentions to drink less.

But, why? Just to keep from falling again?

Is that all we want? To just walk through life? Not fall down too much?

Or, do we want more?

 Do we want to use this month to go in search of something to keep us sober on Friday night because we can’t wait for Saturday mornings all year long? Do we want to rediscover what it’s like to laugh so hard we beg for mercy-without being drunk? Do we want to see what joys the evening can bring without all the joy being sucked out of us the next morning?

So, back to that question, are you here because you need to be?

Or, are you here to learn to fly?

Submitted by Kary May

Author of Neighbor Kary May’s Handbook To Happily Drinking Less Or Not Drinking At All-Quite Happily: With the help of the online support community

 

Featured post

Day 8 And The Noble Eightfold Path


Inspirational Song of the Day: Natasha Bedingfield – Unwritten

This song is reminding you that you’re not a completed book, you’re still the metaphorical author writing your own life. Right now you might be in a pretty crappy chapter, but you might get to the good part soon. A change of your mood can help change the path of your story. This song reminds you to live life to the fullest and that your life is still up to you to guide it where you want it to go. There’s no need to give up when you can simply just rewrite your story, right?

“The tool the Buddhaholds out to free the mind from desire is understanding. Real renunciation is not a matter of compelling ourselves to give up things still inwardly cherished, but of changing our perspective on them so that they no longer bind us. When we understand the nature of desire, when we investigate it closely with keen attention, desire falls away by itself, without need for struggle.”

Bhikkhu Bodh

We all need inspiration, it’s like the wood in the campfire, the water in the lake that reflects the mountain, or the smell of the pies cooking in the kitchen. Inspiration is not the pie or the mountain or the fire, inspiration is the catalyst that bakes the pie and reflects the mountain and fuels the beautiful flames. To learn to drink moderately we need lots of inspiration. Nature provides me with inspiration. Find what gives you fuel, what pushes you to seek out your healing process, what prompts a new chapter in your book of life.

Buddhism holds that our suffering is mainly due to desire, to a craving thirst for satisfying the senses. On day eight of Dryuary let’s take a look at a guide to living in a way that can alleviate the suffering that human nature seems to bring on: the noble eightfold path:

  • right view
  • right resolve
  • right speech
  • right conduct
  • right livelihood
  • right effort
  • right mindfulness
  • and right “samadhi” (meditative absorption or union)

Take a moment to reflect on or write in a journal what each one of these could mean for you. What is the view that led you here to being in Dryuary? For me, Dryuary 2014, it was survival, I felt like I was jeopardizing not only my health but also my life. What kind of resolve is required for you to stay on the path for the whole month? What tools do you have ready to use if an urge comes up? Can you drink a glass of water and go for a walk to “talk yourself down” if an urge surfaces? Does right speech mean posting every day because that is the kind of communication that will keep you on course? Does it mean reading from Responsible Drinking and journaling for 15 minutes before bedtime and rereading each entry as the month progresses? Right conduct: well that one is simple: no drinking. period. But does it also mean not going to parties if they are usually where you would have difficulty saying no to a drink? Look at each one of these eight and find your personal definition of them as they relate to your dry month. Use them to give you the inspiration you need to stay true to your word. One week into the month of no drinking can be a slippery spot on the path. Keep you personal eightfold path notes handy in your wallet or purse in times of low resolve. And don’t forget SAMADHI as a tool, close your eyes and breathe, feel one with all of your Dryuary friends, feel calm and feel sure that you CAN abstain for 31 days.

You deserve it!

This post was contributed by Roberta

Featured post

Day 9 – Your Mileage May Vary

A phrase you’ll hear used a lot at Moderation Management is Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV). Its frequency of use is indicative of the approach that although there are many great resources and a wealth of shared information, everyone is encouraged to find their own path to a healthy solution which works for them. There are guidelines, sure, but for many people the absence of a proscriptive set of rules is one of the strengths of the program. One is less likely to rebel against boundaries that one sets for oneself.

The flip-side of YMMV is the acknowledgement that there are no easy answers and that the experiences of others, although instructive, won’t always produce the same results for us. There may be times during a period of abstinence, for example, where we find ourselves reading what seems like reams of positive feedback from others and wondering “Where’s my pink fluffy cloud? Why don’t I suddenly have boundless energy?” For some people the experience of a period of abstinence can indeed be that revelatory but for others the changes may be a lot more subtle, at least at first. Maybe you might notice that your skin is starting to look healthier or you might become aware of feeling more present in the evening when spending time with your loved ones.

For me, as someone who came to resent the time I was wasting when frequently drinking too much, one of the short-term positives I take from days or extended periods of abstinence is the enjoyment of simple activities which are once again available to me now I no longer feel the compulsion to keep my drinking options open at all times. For example, I like to arrange events with my drinking friends which were previously ruled out because they require a designated driver. This plan has the additional advantage that rather than my not drinking being seen as a social obstacle it instead becomes a social enabler and I get to come out of the evening as a bit of a hero to boot!

The health and wellbeing benefits of moderation and periods of abstinence have become apparent to me in the medium term but sometimes it’s good to just put the bigger picture to one side and to appreciate some small benefit that abstaining on that day has brought to me. I encourage you to look for those aspects of personal, positive feedback that make a difference to you and to nurture them whatever they may be. Your Mileage May Vary.

Nils

PS: Your Moderation May Vary too but that’s a subject for another day.

This post was contributed by the Forum’s Nils

Featured post

Day 10 – It IS The Wine Talking


Inspirational Song of the Day: “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown!” – Happiness

While on vacation last summer, I saw this plaque – “This May Be The Wine Talking, But I Love Wine.”  Laughed out loud, thought it was funny.  And then I realized it fell squarely into those drinking slogans that I used to love but now irk me.  Pithy little drinking witticisms can be funny, but they also contain dangerous messages that normalize drinking excessively.  Let’s break a few down.

“This May Be The Wine Talking, But I Love Wine”
IT IS THE WINE TALKING!!

“Trust me.  You can Dance.”  – Vodka
Dear Vodka, I saw the video. We need to talk.

“Wine Improves With Age, I Improve With Wine”
No, but my slurring and anger mismanagement does.

“You can do it!” – Tequila
I probably shouldn’t be doing things tequila is telling me to do.  Tequila does not have my best interests in mind.  Tequila’s ideas often end with calls for lawyers, guns, and money.

“Someone told me you can make ice cubes out of leftover wine.  I am confused.  What is leftover wine?”
Not only am I not Martha Stewart, I cannot control my drinking.

“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy beer and it’s sort of the same thing.”
Nope.  Beer can be an enjoyable beverage, but it ain’t happiness.  Also, I don’t think it shows up in the above song.

“Beer.  Proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”
If so, whither the hangovers?

“Drinking rum before 10 a.m. makes you a pirate, not an alcoholic.”
Cool! But my lack of boat suggests otherwise.

I recognize also that it is important to have a sense of humor.  Humor is one of my favorite ways of communicating.  But because I’m trying to avoid drinking excessively, for now, my kitchen bulletin board says:

“You can do it!” – Coffee

Any others folks want to share?

Submitted by MM Member Micro

Featured post

Day 11 – The Story Of Diego And Juice Time


Inspirational Song of the Day: Sara Bareilles – Brave

“Create your own miracles; do what you think you cannot do.”
– Roy T. Bennett

When my now 22 year old daughter was in nursery school the children were summoned to the table every day by one of the teachers calling out, “Wash hands for Juice Time! Wash hands for Juice Time!” All of the kids ran happily to the washbasin and sat expectantly for Juice Time. All of them except for Diego. Every single day Diego had to be prodded and cajoled in to the classroom for Juice Time. He would sit in the sand box or hide behind a tree or pedal away on a tricycle until a teacher would finally corral him into the classroom.

One day he complained, “But I don’t like Juice Time!” And the teacher matter of factly responded, “Oh, that’s okay. You don’t have to like Juice Time; you just have to come.” And that was it.  From that day on Diego always came when he was called for Juice Time because he understood that he didn’t have to like it, he just had to do it.

You know where this is heading, don’t you? “Wash hands for Dryuary! Wash hands for Dryuary!” You don’t have to like Dryuary; you just have to do it.

Here’s the thing. When Diego understood that he wasn’t expected to like Juice Time, he eventually settled in and actually came to enjoy certain parts of it (the juice being one of the parts he liked). He didn’t enjoy coming in from outdoors, he didn’t enjoy sitting still, but he did manage to settle himself in enough that he learned a few things. He learned how to pour the juice for himself and others, how to pass the plate of crackers and take only one, how to sit still for those fifteen minutes. I don’t think Diego ever loved Juice Time, but he did gain some new skills and a different perspective.

While these skills may seem unimportant in the great scheme of life, in fact, they are vital building blocks to a healthy social life.  Learning how to use which muscles in the arms and hands to lift, hold, balance and pour a liquid without spilling is a really useful skill. Mastering the coordination to hold a plate with one hand and take a cracker with the other hand, all while reining in the desire to take more than one’s share is huge. Sitting still, breathing in and out, controlling the impulse to jump up and run outside before the end of Juice Time, that is the first seed of maturity.

As children we learn by doing.  We come pre-wired with the drive to learn to roll over, crawl, walk, run, babble and talk. No one tells us how, we just keep stumbling, tripping, and falling until we get it right. As we mature we begin to realize that there are a whole slew of things we aren’t necessarily dying to learn, but we gather pretty quickly that if we want to get anywhere in life, we better knuckle under and get to work.

And that’s where Dryuary comes in. We may not be thrilled to be here; we may arrive whining and stomping. But here we are at the table ready to learn. Saying No-Thank-You to that glorious glass of red that would be just perfect with dinner is not easy. Sitting still, breathing through the most maddening conversation ever in the history of the world is almost (Almost!) impossible. Watching all our friends yuck it up on that second martini while we sip bubbly water feels miserable.

But you know what? We can do it. We absolutely can do it. We can develop those abstaining muscles; we can figure out new and inventive ways to say no; we can live through the worst of times. Dryuary gives us the opportunity to learn all these new skills that might seem trivial at the time, but when added up and incorporated into our daily lives, can propel us into a life that we get to choose, because we have done the work.

Diego didn’t like Juice Time, but he settled in and learned all kinds of cool new things.
Be like Diego.

This post was contributed by Horselover

Featured post

Day 12 – Your Inner Negotiator

“Be mindful of your self-talk. It is a conversation with the universe. You are a being, full of infinite possibilities! Focus your mind with positivity and you will have dictated the direction of your journey, your soul and your being, cascading in infinite abundance.”
– Angie Karan

You have many people supporting you during January, especially your Dryuary colleagues. But, there’s something evil out there that will never be on your side. It’s your Inner Negotiator (IN). Your IN sits in waiting, ready to pounce every time you make a step forward. He/she will say things to you like “you’ve made it a week, you’ve shown you can do it, no need to do this.” Or “what a stressful day you’ve had, you can take this one day off and pick up tomorrow.” Or “31 is just a number, you can set your own terms.”

The voice sounds friendly, but your IN is an expert at manipulating you however and whenever possible. How do you counter that evil voice?

1) Acknowledge his/her presence. Everyone has an IN, it’s not restricted to drinking. Your IN will also attempt to sabotage your dieting, workout schedule, future plans, you name it. Accepting that this evil being is there is the first step.

2) Call your IN out. Say “I know you’re there, and whatever you might say, I know you’re not looking out for my best interests.” “I see you, and you’re not fooling me no matter what you say.” Even better, write it out.

3) Counter your IN’s statements with healthy ones. “Yes I could take a day off, but how is that going to benefit me?” “Sure, I had a bad day, but that’s life and you’re not going to use it to your advantage.” “I suppose I could set my own terms during Dryuary, but that’s you doing your thing, not me.”

Your IN is crafty, and will always be there. But we get to choose our own power, not give it away to anyone else.

Submitted by MM Member Jimmer

Featured post

Day 13 – It’s A Beautiful World



Inspirational Song of the Day: Colin Hays – What a Beautiful World

In this rather lengthy live version of his song – Colin Hay, ex-lead singer of Men At Work, talks first about how he started drinking too much, why he stopped drinking, and then a couple of silly stories about sharks – then he sings a wonderful song.

One of the later verses is as follows:

“And still this emptiness persists
Perhaps this is as good as it gets
When you’ve given up the drink
And those nasty cigarettes
Now I leave the party early, at least with no regrets
I watch the sun as it comes up, I watch it as it sets
Yes this is as good as it gets”

This verse has some stark but lovely reality in it – yes when you cut down or give up drinking – there are still problems, there can still be an emptiness – it doesn’t solve all of your problems. But you can live your life with fewer regrets – because you’re now experiencing and living your life clean without the haze and cycle of drinking and recovery.

Folks who are reading this at MM are what I like to call “self-identified problem drinkers.” And we’re all trying to get better. Some may find moderation possible and can keep alcohol a “small but enjoyable part of life.” Others like Colin Hay (and me) find it easier just to stop all together. The 31 days of Dryuary gives you a chance to experience with others what your life is like without alcohol. It’s a long enough period there will be times you miss some aspects of it for sure – but also long enough to start seeing some of the benefits in the last two weeks (better sleep, fresher look, better memory, etc.) At the end of the 31 days you might decide to extend it for a while or you might try moderation.

Both are fine options – I did a number of 30s and even a couple of 90s and then tried to moderate. For me after more than three years (I’m very stubborn) I decided that abs was just easier for me to do (it freed up mind space and it was a relief for me not to have to fight it).

Whatever you decide – I hope you appreciate how wonderful and beautiful life can be and what a gift it is that we have. Yes there is often pain, emptiness and heartbreak, but there is also joy, friendship, love and fulfillment. I’m finding my life much better without the fog and complications of overdrinking – and hope you enjoy your 31 January days and find your way to your own “beautiful life and beautiful world.”

Submitted by MM Member Eeyore

Featured post

Day 14 – No Regrets


Inspirational Song of the Day: Robbie Williams – No Regrets

“It happened this way: I fell in love and then, because the love was ruining everything I cared about, I had to fall out.”
– Caroline Knapp, Drinking: A Love Story

If you are reading this now, you are still in the game, abstaining from alcohol for a brief period of time. I know you are still in the game, because if you weren’t, you wouldn’t be reading this.

How many January’s have you lived through thus far? Do you remember everyday of every January? Will you remember this day? Do you remember times when you wish you hadn’t had a drink, but you did anyway, and you were not happy with yourself afterwards? Do you wish that you could go back and change it?

You can. Now.

By changing it now, you are in effect lessening the feelings of regret of the past. You can rewrite your emotional history by doing what you wish you had done, now.

Be nice to yourself. All of the thoughts rolling through your mind are only thoughts. They  come, they go. Do you remember all of the thoughts that you have had every day in every January in the past? I don’t. Chances are you won’t remember the thoughts you are having now, no matter how powerful they are. They will pass.
When the thought of drinking arises, notice it. Say to it “Hi thought of drinking! I’m busy right now.” And invite it to leave. Then do something else.

Your tomorrow-self will thank you for this. Your tomorrow-self will then have its own thoughts. And your tomorrow-self will remind you of your today-self and how you were able to invite unwanted thoughts to leave, successfully.
And how you were able to continue with your commitment to yourself to abstain from alcohol during a tiny sliver of time in your life.
No matter how difficult it may feel in this moment, you have proof that this moment won’t last and you will only remember it if you really want to. You will only remember it if you give it meaning. It will only be a valuable moment to you if you succeed at doing something that you have committed yourself to do.

If you give into random cravings and rantings of the thoughts in your mind now, how will your tomorrow-self feel? It will feel the same way you do now about regrets in the past. You have the ability to rewrite history, now. For now will soon be history.
So rewrite those regrets, now. Rewrite your reality. Give this one tiny day, this small sliver of time, some valuable meaning that takes you into a new tomorrow. A tomorrow with more possibility. A tomorrow with more self-confidence. A tomorrow where you can say, “Yeah, I did that,” and smile instead of cringe.

Be nice to yourself today. Your tomorrow-self will thank you.

Submitted by Pono Marin

 

Featured post

Day 15 – There Are People Who You Only See At Funerals


Inspirational Song of the Day: Louis Armstrong – What A Wonderful World

A few years ago, my mother passed away. She had been addicted to prescription painkillers, also ingested a lot of Tylenol, and at 67, her liver quit. My mother was a gregarious, fun, brilliant, complicated, and well-loved woman, and people from all the decades of her life attended her wake, funeral, and the meal at our home thereafter. I saw people that day who I hadn’t seen in a few years, people who I’d never met, and people who remembered me from my toddler years.

A few days ago, I attended the wake and funeral of a man who was the son of my parents’ best friends. He was addicted to drugs for many years and accidentally overdosed on Thanksgiving. His parents are bereft. I hadn’t seen him since I was a teenager. I see his parents maybe once each year. But more than two years after my mother passed, I saw many of the same “funeral people” – those folks I only see at funerals. People turn out to pay their respects. It’s a lovely aspect of human nature. It’s a terrible way to meet up with people.

At various times in my life, I have been addicted to alcohol. And addiction to alcohol can lead to a litany of problems, and that litany can lead to death in a variety of ways.

I don’t want my family to meet my “funeral people” any sooner than they need to.

Let’s find other reasons to meet those funeral people now. They can be wedding people! Bar mitzvah people! That friend of my parents who I always happen to see at the DMV people! Baptism people! Grocery shopping people!

And so I resolve to battle my addiction to alcohol with every weapon I have. And I resolve that, upon request, I will be a weapon for others battling their addictions. You’re my Dryuary people & MM people; let’s keep each other company for the long haul.

Submitted by MM Member Micro

 

Featured post

Day 16 – Be Not Afraid


Inspirational Song of the Day: Kelly Clarkson – Invincible

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.”
– Yann Martel, ‘Life of Pi’

I drove home for the holidays this year. Home for me is in the wild and woolly badlands of Southwest Kansas. Yeah, all those wheat fields and grain silos can set a cold, dead fear in the souls of lesser men, or women, as the case might be. Just over the Colorado border on a lonely patch of Hwy 50 is an overpass that rises above miles of unbroken flat grassland. As I ascended its heights, I recalled countless other times I’ve crossed it. Hungover. Cold-sweaty hands on the wheel. Heart pounding. Not looking to either side until my vehicle touched down on the other side. Now, if you’ve ever had the pleasure of driving across my home state, the only state in the continental U.S. in which you can stand on your head and see all the way to the opposing border, you know that we have cow manure piles and prairie dog hills with loftier altitudes than any of our Hwy. overpasses. So, as I drove over this same old bump in the road a couple of weeks ago, my last hangover being somewhere around six years ago, I wondered how it had managed to terrify me so.

There’s actually a physiological explanation for it, all that mindless anxiety that drinking too heavy and too long saddles us with. Something to do with serontonin and a few other neurotransmitters (it’s always those batrastards starting all the trouble.) that get thrown into that chicken and egg cycle when we down a couple of drinks to relax, then, when the relax part starts nodding off and anxiety pushes it off the barstool and takes a seat, we drink some more to relax some more. Rinse and repeat, as we like to say.

Since I broke that cycle six years ago, I’ve found I’m not near the coward I thought I was. I’ve got a whole list of things, I’m no longer afraid of. Here’s just a few:

Overpasses, bridges, police cars, breathalyzers, falling off barstools, 2 a.m., 4 a.m.,  meeting my husband’s eyes in the a.m., brushing my teeth in the a.m., poached eggs-scratch that, they still scare the hell out of me, checking facebook in the a.m., having shaky hands and boozy breath at work in the a.m., not remembering how I got the scabs on my knees, hearing about what I did last night in gleeful detail, not remembering why I got that tattoo, seeing embarrassment in my kids’ eyes, seeing fear in my kids’ eyes, not being invited to my grandkids’ weddings, meeting someone new and having them say, “Don’t you remember? We met at the Hotchkiss’s party last Friday night?” Friday nights, Saturday mornings, any given day in general, how I’ll act at Christmas parties, book club, baptisms, weddings, funerals, play dates, lunch dates, dinner dates, seeing videos of my dance moves, wondering whether I should drive home, how I got home, who drove me home,  where are my keys, my car, my panties, oh, shoot, how did I chip my front tooth, just how much did I tell that perfect stranger about my relationship with my mother, how many times did I tell the perfect stranger how much I love her-the stranger that is, not my mother, my mother’s look of bitter disappointment in the sweet hereafter, telling my boss he really needs to re-think that comb-over at the Christmas office party-I wouldn’t say anything if I didn’t love him, really love him-what the garbage collector is going to think about all of those empties, what the neighbor is going to think when I put my empties in her bin, losing sleep because I spent the night worrying about how early my neighbor gets up in the morning, losing sleep worrying about how early I’ll have to get up to sneak my empties into her bin,  the liquor store clerk keeping a tally of how many times I come in per week, forgetting which liquor store I went to last, spending Thanksgiving and Christmas at the VFW potluck because my kids didn’t invite me, dying alone and broken…

Yep, I’m pretty much fearless these days.

How about you? Have you noticed you’re feeling kind of fearless yourself after not drinking for over two weeks? What fears have gone missing? What fears do you have yet to conquer?

I can tell you one fear you will never have again. You will never again be afraid of going this long without drinking. You’ve crushed that one.

Submitted by Kary May, author of Neighbor Kary May’s Handbook to Happily Drinking Less or Not Drinking At All-Quite Happily: With The Help Of The Online Recovery Community

Featured post

Day 17 – Second Wind



Inspirational Song of the Day: Christina Aguilera – Climb Every Mountain

“The fatigue of the climb was great but it is interesting to learn once more how much further one can go on one’s second wind. I think that is an important lesson for everyone to learn for it should also be applied to one’s mental efforts. Most people go through life without ever discovering the existence of that whole field of endeavor which we describe as second wind. Whether mentally or physically occupied most people give up at the first appearance of exhaustion. Thus they never learn the glory and the exhilaration of genuine effort…”
– Agnes Elizabeth née Ernst Meyer

When I was in college, my Dad and I climbed Mount Whitney. For the record it is the tallest point in the continental US, at 14,505 feet.

Did you know that only about 1/3 of the people who set out to climb Mount Whitney actually make it to the summit? Seriously? Only 1/3? Neither did I.

What happens to all those other people? You gotta figure that most of them are in fairly good shape, have done their research, carry adequate gear, and have done some mountain climbing. But a full 2/3 of those who start out don’t make it? What’s up with that?

My Dad was a quiet mountain man from West Virginia with a dry wit. We climbed the way mountain people have always climbed, slowly and comfortably, lifting each foot just high enough, then letting it drop deliberately in the most secure spot, settling into an easy rhythm. We rarely stopped to rest because we rested with each step.

As we climbed those two days we noticed several groups of people who seemed to be almost racing up the trail.  We would step off the trail so they could huff and puff past us, glancing sideways at us with small smiles of pity. Dad and I slowly plodded along and would eventually come upon those same groups of people who were now sitting to rest, wiping sweat from their brow, gulping oxygen and water.

After awhile they would come charging up behind us again, anxious to get past the two slowpokes.  And sure enough, a little while later, we would amble past them again as they sat gasping for breath.

Dad and I knew something that they did not. We knew about that extraordinary, coveted phenomenon known as the Second Wind. In the mornings Dad and I would stand up, sling on our backpacks and begin our steady march. At some point we would be breathing pretty hard and Dad would ask, “Got your Second Wind yet?” “Nope.”

“Wanna stop and rest?”

“Heck, no! If we stop now, we’ll just have to start all over again!”

Slow rhythmic steps, keep a steady pace, don’t think, just keep clumping along.

“How about now? Got your Second Wind now?”

“Yup. How about you?”

“Yup.”

At that point you could not have paid us to stop to rest because we had finally gained that invaluable treasure, the Second Wind. We were in the zone, tramping along, enjoying the scenery and, truth be told, enjoying the strength of our bodies. If we sat down to rest, we’d have to work that much harder just to earn it all back again. No way were we gonna let that slip away.

Of course, we did stop to rest occasionally, mostly just for a few minutes. Usually we would just take off our packs, grab a Payday candy bar (those are THE best on a backpacking trip!), eat standing up, take a long drink of water, pull our packs back on, and hit the trail again. We knew that if we sat down it would be that much harder to get up, and we would lose our precious Second Wind. We had invested so much to achieve that almighty Second Wind, and there was no way we were going to throw it all away by plopping down for a long rest.

And that brings us, of course, to what I like to call SecondWinduary!

Just stop for a minute and ponder that. You’ve done the work, you’ve kept on trekking when you didn’t think you could take another step or abs another minute, let alone a full day or… 31 days. You’ve found and developed muscles you never knew you had. Maybe some days were harder than others, but let’s face it, if it was easy none of us would be here. But whether you are in the zone or still struggling, there is no way you want to throw all that hard work away. No way.

That oh-my-god-I’ve-been-so-good-I-deserve-it-so-I’m-gonna-drink-as-much-as-I-want or even the I-deserve-it-so-I’m-gonna-just-go-a-bit-over-my-limit celebratory “rest” will cost you what you have worked so hard for, your Second Wind. We all know how hard it is to dig ourselves out of a spiral. Every single one of us knows it is much, much harder to get back up and start trekking again when we have stopped to “rest” (read drink) for too long. The occasional short breather, one or two drinks now and then, is absolutely fine. Nothing wrong with a pleasant refreshing interlude.

The problem, as we all know, is the prolonged hiatus filled with too much alcohol. That’s when we lose our Second Wind and, knowing how hard it will be when we do decide to crawl back to a standing position and commence our climb again, we can tend to just sit and sit in the same place. Of course, the longer we sit there, the harder it is to get back up. You know that. I know that.

So. Here we are near the end of SecondWinduary. Whatcha gonna do?

P.S. Okay, I wanted to end this on a high note, but I know from, ahem, personal experience that some of us, ahem, don’t always make the best choice to keep our Second Wind. We sometimes do sit down and “treat” ourselves to too much for too long. And guess what? We have the choice at every minute to stand back up and take that next first hard step on the way to our next Second Wind. We CAN do it.

Submitted by MM member HorseLover

Featured post

Day 18 – Hard Lesson


Inspirational Song of the Day: Simple Minds – Alive And Kicking

“Focus on the task at hand, focus on that day. Be successful that day.”
– Professor Jeff Price, Metropolitan State University of Denver

Over the years, my drinking became both a daily habit and binges at times. Even though I wasn’t drunk every day and had a feeling I was drinking more than I should at times, I still don’t think I even realized the total number of drinks I had some weeks.

I was drinking well above the MM limits and it finally caught up to me in the form of a binge that led to a blackout (none of which I can remember), including an ambulance ride to the ER.

As I described in the online Abs Chat recently: “I can’t believe how lucky I was to wind up in the ER without a scratch… But I’ll never forget trying to get discharged from the ER – and not being able to understand the paperwork I had to sign. It was like I was a different person, having an out of body experience or something.”

This was right up there with the scariest events of my life and I discovered my drinking could make me a dangerous, obnoxious person that both was me, but wasn’t really me. Or it wasn’t the version of me I knew. I cringe to think of subjecting the emergency responders and ER staff to this “person” I became that night and my ridiculous behavior. My drinking made me become an “emergency,” drawing resources away from other people who needed critical help.

Fast forward to today. With MM’s support, I have 7 months of abstinence and still going strong.
A couple weeks ago, my partner and I were on the way home from a Christmas Party and I was driving. It really meant a lot when she turned to me and said, “I like that you’re sober and can be the one to drive us home tonight. That’s a really nice change this year.”

Submitted by MM Member Marc_R

Featured post

Day 19 – Learning More About One’s Self During Each Break

I have yet to abstain a full month without “asterisks.” It’s a little disappointing. But one of the benefits of this failure is that I’ve been forced to forgive myself, and to recognize that my personality is not one of total adherence. And that’s OK because my goal has always been a healthy relationship with alcohol, not complete abstinence.

My relationship with alcohol is not black and white. Mostly my alcohol habit has been functional. This is why it’s been hard for me to consider doing full, permanent abstinence. I never drank to black-out stage. I rarely walked into work with a hangover. But there was enough trouble (mainly weight gain) that I did want to cut down and was surprised to find it difficult. So, since Moderation Management (MM) recommends doing a 30 day break, I’ve done several. I do OK but inevitably have at least one slip-up during those 30 days. This last time, instead of a 30, I set out to do a 24-day abstinence between a couple of big social engagements. I successfully abstained on 21 of those 24 days. On the 3 days that I drank, I successfully moderated.

Some would condemn that as a failure, and judge me an alcoholic, or worse. Instead I have chosen to learn from the experience. In many ways, trying and failing is a better learning experience than complete adherence. Man have I learned! Every time that I abstain 4 or 5 days in a row, I learn. But every time I abstain 10+ days in a row, I learn even more.

During every extended abstinence period, I practice socializing sober and coping with life’s ups and downs without zoning out. Extended abstinence gives me confidence and reduces my dependence. This practice has enabled me to understand better what I want – and do not want – from alcohol. The Responsible Drinking book has been very helpful in those little epiphanies.

The reason why I share this experience of “asterisked” 30s is that many new members on the Forum have expressed a fear of failure. They don’t think they can do a 30. I say go for it. Maybe commit to one or two weeks if 30 days is too intimidating. There’s no way you won’t come away with some self-knowledge and new healthy habits. There’s no shame as long as you keep trying.

This post was submitted by the Forum’s Hazelhoot

Featured post

Day 20 – Not Drinking As The New Normal

The key to drinking moderately is simply not drinking. I believe that many of us approach moderation the wrong way. We obsessively count drinks. We plot what days we will get to drink on our calendars. We plan ahead for those occasions where we will want and deserve to be able to drink – family functions, music festivals, sporting events, weddings – and then we look forward to these little islands of drinking, albeit with some trepidation, in our self-imposed desert of abstinence days. We’re either drinking or thinking about drinking when we’re not drinking. And the more time we think about drinking, the more it becomes part of our reward system. Drinking is the reward we give ourselves for being good. Therein lies the problem: we’ve proven we’re good at being able to drink, what we need to work on is not drinking.

Isn’t that the reason we’re here after all, because we came to realize that we didn’t like what drinking was doing to us, that we wanted to be able to enjoy our lives without alcohol playing such a prominent role? We wanted a new kind of life, at least I certainly did. I want being able to enjoy life without a drink to be my new normal: waking up clear-headed with the energy and attitude to take on a new day, appreciating the fullness of the day’s moments, times spent with family and friends being truly in the present moment, enjoying the richness of the experience of life’s little moments, feeling healthy, watching movies to the end and remembering them the next day, getting high on things like music and beauty and nature, curling up with a book and a cup of tea, the blessed relief of not constantly stressing over the availability of alcohol when going out, the sense of peace, being able to experience all of those things and more is the reason I wanted to end alcohol’s grip on my life. And those are all things I get to do when I’m not drinking. They are the rewards, and drinking gets in the way of all that. So I focus my mind on not drinking. I don’t consider myself a moderate drinker. I consider myself a non-drinker who has a drink or two now and then. A subtle difference, but a powerful one.

Taking this month off from alcohol is an important first step, getting back in touch with all of the rewards that we’ve denied ourselves by over-drinking. It is an opportunity to practice not drinking as the new normal. And it shouldn’t stop here. I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to hold onto this feeling. I will focus my mental energy on all the things I can do when I’m not drinking, how much richer those experiences are for it, and how much better I will feel. “Can I have a drink now?” should be replaced by “Why would I want a drink now?” Sure, there will be situations, mostly social in nature, where I will decide to have a drink or two. I won’t go looking for those situations; I know they will find me eventually, and I will be ready when they do.

With practice, and a little patience, not drinking has become my new normal. I don’t see the non-drinking days as what I have to get through in order to drink again; rather, I see the occasional drink as a slight though pleasant deviation from my usual sober routine during bad days and good days. Drinking isn’t the reward; the good days are. Even the bad days are more tolerable when I don’t wake up feeling like crap. And the more you live that life, even if it feels artificial at first, the more likely it will become the new reality.

This post was submitted by The Forum’s Bruce

Featured post

Day 21 – The Peace That Comes With Control

I’m sitting in my backyard right now, drinking a cup of coffee, reading some blogs and cruising the posts on the Forum. My little notebook is next to me, eagerly awaiting my plan for the day. It’s a beautiful August morning, one with no hangover and no regrets. I can only describe the feeling as one of peace- which has been a word that has popped into my mind more than once these past three weeks.

Yesterday I went to a meditation class and the teaching of the day involved refuge. How we, as humans, are always seeking refuge from our own mind. We are looking for peace. We are looking for ways to avoid struggle and turmoil within our own minds. The teacher asked us to look deep and acknowledge that most of our problems come from within our own minds, and not from outside sources.

I’ve been thinking that over this morning, and I’m seeing that alcohol, in the quantities I was consuming it, was serving as the key that opened the door of turmoil and struggle in my own mind. Yes, my struggle comes from within. Yes, mistakes are made primarily from something within. But the alcohol was the key that “let them out”.

Three weeks is a short amount of time, and yet I’m feeling very hopeful. I’m coming to a lot of conclusions about myself and my drinking that I haven’t before. I’m feeling the peace that comes with the control. I’m seeking refuge from my own mind by keeping that door locked tight.

This post was submitted by the Forum’s Beans818

Featured post

Day 22 – Support After Resuming Drinking


Inspirational Song of the Day: Peter Gabriel & Kate Bush – Don’t Give Up

As you enter the home stretch of your Dryuary, it’s time to plan for how you will resume drinking. If you’re a bit worried about how you’ll keep feeling good after you start drinking again, it’s good to know there is support out there should you slip and need help with your course correction. Yolanda explains how Moderation Management (MM) worked for her:

I began my journey to moderation 5 years ago when I found MM after having a terrible hang over. That evening I went to my first AA meeting and realized it wasn’t for me. The next day I found MM with a Google search. Boy was I lucky to find such a supportive nonjudgmental group.. When I began,I was a daily drinker and easily put away 3-4 drinks a night, sometimes the entire wine bottle. I never once thought of counting drinks because I thought the entire reason to drink was to get a good buzz and, of course, that lead to black outs and hangovers. Counting drinks and staying within the 3 limit for females wasn’t too difficult; stopping daily drinking was the real challenge and I did try to stay within the guidelines. I began being abstinent 2 days a week. After I mastered that, I went to 3 days a week. I didn’t have any liquor in the house except for what we would immediately consume that day. I bought the little airline bottles of liquor to mix my drinks. I white-knuckled it till the next drinking day. After my second year, I decided I wanted to cut down more and abstained 4 days a week and could comfortably have liquor in the house without it tempting me too much. I’m proud to say that I haven’t gotten drunk or had a hang over in 5 years. Now I am the self proclaimed ‘Duchess of Deuce’ because I can stop at 2 quite easily. I’ve had this goal for several years and never stopped trying to reach it. I never gave up on myself. Counting drinks on *ABSTAR* and posting often help me tremendously. I so appreciate the MM community for helping me become a better person.

Kim SB gives her take:

I recently went on a trip to New York City. Not only was I so excited about taking in all the sights, but I was also very excited about going to my first face-to-face meeting. I live in a rural area and cannot regularly attend face-to-face meetings at this time. It was exciting to see the face of someone that I’ve only had phone conversations with during the Inklings meeting calls on Friday night.

Whether you have been with Moderation Management a long time or you’re new to the program, there is always a different avenue in gaining support from your fellow MM members. There are live chats on Mon & Wed nights, Tues & Friday night phone conferences, and face-to-face meetings in most major cities.

You don’t necessarily have to go “live” to gain MM support either. There’s the Forum, the email Listserv, or read testimonials (at forum.moderation.org or in Responsible Drinking) or the Steps of Change PDF on the Moderation.org website. There are so many options to take.

*Ask yourself which tools of communication work best for you and make note of the two most important ones for you.*

Even if you’re an introvert like me, you know that there is a power in communication. We all share the same concern and are in a judgment free zone and are able to take advantage of it as much as we want. Everyone feels better when you find someone else going through the same situations you are.
So, listen to the inspirational song of the day and whenever you get that doubtful voice in your head, that may sound like Peter Gabriel in the song, don’t give up; think of all the MM community as Kate Bush’s voice with words of encouragement. We are all here to cheer you on and help you with your relationship with alcohol, but moreover your happiness in life. We’re all only a meeting… phone call… a communication away from being there.

This post was contributed by MM Forum’s Yolanda and Inklings’ Kim

Featured post

Day 23 – Melinda’s Reflections on a Break from Alcohol

Moderation Management (MM) Member Melinda shared these reflections on completion of a 30 day break from alcohol:

First and foremost, MM has helped me tremendously. I am cognizant of the fact that I am just coming off the high of completing my 30+, however, I have learned so much. There were two items that I read early on during my time here. One was “…and then what”, in reference to having one more, or another and another. The second, and related was “Play the movie to the end”. For me, previously, that meant getting sloppy, saying things I didn’t mean (good or bad), doing things I shouldn’t (like peeing in the woods on the golf course instead of driving to the facilities at the next hole – YUP, that was me.)

Again, in no particular order:

  • I’m happy with myself.
  • Weight Watchers really does work if you don’t drink all your points. I get it – those points were meant for nutrients. (I lost 5 lbs in my first 2 months of WW, and 10 lbs in month 3 alone (during my 30).
  • My skin is radiant, my eyes are whiter, my face is not puffy.
  • The house is picked up, very clean, laundry is done as needed, not in a marathon emergency session.
  • I cook at home. No more – how about wings and pizza at 9PM.
  • I’m in bed by 8:30 most nights.
  • I’m trying new things. I went to a toastmasters meeting and I’m going to join. Yes, me, the shy one. Scared shit – but excited too
  • Instead of spending $100+ at dinner out, the bills for the two of us are about $60 with tip at a decent place. Wow.
  • Did I mention saving money – everyone says how expensive groceries are. I agree, they are, BUT, should a family of two really be spending $400 week? Take away the bottles of wine and cases of beer (yes, cases), and wow, what a difference.
  • I am listening more to my loved ones. Appreciating them instead of multi-tasking. Also, I remember phone conversations with my Mom. Very important as she’s 88 and now that I’ve been abstinent, just the thought of knowing any conversation could be our last, I don’t want to be thinking someday, gee, I wish I wasn’t blotto on that call.
  • I’m sharper at work. More like the old me.
  • I appreciate nature like I used to.
  • I’m more apt to strike up a conversation. No worrying that I’m slurring, or not being able to remember what was said 2 minutes prior.
  • Emotionally, I am in a far better place. I am re-appreciating all the reasons I love my husband. Poor guy, he really has put up with a lot over the years.
  • I don’t feel like an imposter quite so much. I have a very demanding job, responsible for a staff of degreed engineers, which I am not. However, I have many years of management experience and my department has always been successful. The past several years I have not been up to my standards (though my reviews are always great). Now without the haze of hangovers I feel like I am worthy of the position I hold.
  • Physically and Mentally, my energy is through the roof.

Next Chapter:

I call it a NOD instead of a MOD. A mod to me, is drinking in moderation. Yes, we have the MM rules, and I can carry them on a business card, or put them in my smart phone notes, but the term MOD is too vague for me. I need something specific. To me, NOD is something that resonates. To me, it means No Over Drinking. I know what that means. I don’t have to stop and think about my drink count, my BAC (blood alcohol content) numbers, (though it plays into it). I know, deep down in my gut, what and when over-drinking feels like and when it starts – it starts with that puffy bitch. I’m going to squash her.

Wrap up – probably the only succinct part of this post:

What once was unthinkable, is still unthinkable:

Pre 30: 9 drinks in one week – unthinkable. (Really, only 9? Sometimes I do that in a day. That’s nuts. Who can stick to that?)
Post 30: 9 drinks in one week – unthinkable. (Really, 9 in one week? I don’t want to even get a buzz. I just want the taste. I can do that over 1 glass of wine with dinner, AND 1 nice craft-brew at the pub beforehand).

So, then next chapter is going to be the hardest yet. Yesterday was day one of my 30 day NOD. Let’s see how it goes.

* * * In closing, thanks for listening everyone, and thank you to Melinda, for allowing yourself to try – and getting over being scared of success. * *  *

This post was contributed by the Forum’s Melinda

Featured post

Day 24 – Snapshots From Normal


Inspirational Song of the Day: Patty Griffin – When It Don’t Come Easy
(A song for all of us weary, yet intrepid, Dryuary road warriors!)

“We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy – he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer. You could argue he’d done it to curry favor with the guards, or maybe make a few friends among us cons.  Me? I think he did it just to feel normal again, if only for a short while.”
– “Ellis Boyd ‘Red’ Redding” (Morgan Freeman), in the movie Shawshank Redemption based on the novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King

I remember the first time I visited Normal. It didn’t happen in auspicious circumstances. By any means. It actually occurred in the middle of a meeting at work. There I was sitting on one of those cold and unforgiving folding chairs, sipping the last dregs of the day’s coffee,  discussing the same things that had been discussed a hundred times before. Suddenly, I realized I felt completely at ease. I wasn’t stealing furtive glances at the clock, willing those minute hands forward. I wasn’t drumming my fingers on the table or wiggling my foot under it. I didn’t feel sluggish or anxious, nor was I suffering the lingering effects from the night before.

For the first time in a very long time, the countdown of minutes until I could have a drink was not ticking!

From the outside, the circumstances were mundane, but inside…oh man, that realization washed over me like a Homecoming.

“So, this is what Normal looks like,” I thought with the wonder of someone who has been granted sight after years of darkness. I didn’t see the sterile surroundings of a hospital conference room. Instead, I saw the sunshine pouring in through the window. I saw every leaf on the trees outside. I saw fine detail and possibility.

I saw Hope.

I saw Free.

Really. It was that momentous to me.

Oh, I went back to drinking. Hard and heavy. Back to Usual, which was far from Normal.

Still, I never forgot that moment of sitting on a cold, torturous chair in a boring meeting, feeling more free than I could ever remember feeling. I give that moment a lot of credit for getting me to where I am right now. Living full-time in Normal.

See, I had boxes and drawers stuffed full of “snapshots” of dark moments that I had collected in my journey, to remind me of places to which I never wanted to return. True, I had moments of inconceivable incandescence also, but they began sputtering out way too soon, throwing me into darker and darker darkness.  I didn’t have any snapshots from “Normal” though.

If I didn’t know what it was like in “Normal,” how had I become so adamant that I didn’t want to go there? Live there?

That day was my first snapshot. It wasn’t my last. I started collecting more and more. Every time I needed to escape Usual.

Just like Andy Dufresne, the falsely imprisoned character in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption,” up there on the rooftop with his face turned up to the sun while his fellow inmates enjoyed their beer… Just like Andy blasting opera music through the cell block and out into the prison yard while his fellow inmates turned their faces to the sun… Just like Andy digging night after night under the cover of darkness toward his freedom, I kept reminding myself that the prison I found myself in, my Usual,  wasn’t Normal.

I had the choice of succumbing and becoming “institutionalized,” learning to exist only within the confines of my Usual, or I could keep trying to escape.  Back to Normal.

This month you’ve been collecting your own snapshots of Normal. What will you do with them? Will you stuff them away in a drawer until next Dryuary when you decide you want to visit Normal again? Will you pull them out occasionally when your Usual becomes too frightening or confining? Maybe think about finding your way back there? Will you display them proudly? You should, you know? Will you spend this year visiting Normal more frequently, adding to your collection?

Regardless of what you decide to do with your snapshots, you now know what Normal looks like. You’ve been there. You’ve got the memories and snapshots to prove it. Who knows? Maybe, later on down the road, after you’ve collected snapshots from other places, you’ll decide to move to Normal full-time.

For Andy and me, Normal ended up being on a beach in Mexico.

Where’s your Normal going to be?

Submitted by Kary May, Author of the book Neighbor Kary May’s Handbook to Happily Drinking Less or Not Drinking At All-Quite Happily: With the support of the online recovery community

Featured post

Day 25 – Resuming Drinking Post-Dryuary

So you made it this far through Dryuary. Maybe you did all 24 days, maybe you have an asterisk lol! Its all good because intentionally or unintentionally you have taken an important step to healthier, happier, you. If you’re like a lot of us, its on to February and the rest of the year and we hope to see you again for next year’s ride!

What’s that? You over there in the corner? Oh, so all of this time without drinking has made you think a little? You kind of like the way it feels, but you’re a bit afraid once you can drink you’ll act like you’re a teenager on Spring Break?

I took really well to these breaks myself. I started them right about the same time I began cycling competitively so the process of taking breaks and watching my diet went hand in hand. I remember talking about how easy it was and that frustrated a lot of folks over at Moderation Management (MM). I realized that I had all of this structure – just like you have in your 31 Dryuary days. So I sat down with one of my friends that was readying themselves for that Post Dryuary time to come up with a plan for the next break. Here’s what we drew up and a lot of people find it helps:

Step 1: Pick a day, have one drink. Drink it like it will be the last one you get in your life. Careful which you choose and how fast you drink it. It’s going to be a while until your next one.

Step 2: Do a 7 day abstinence. And go do something good for yourself that you wouldn’t do otherwise like a massage. Or in my case, work on the Todo list and remember to congratulate yourself.

Step 3: After the abstinence, Repeat Step 1, but this time take 2 days, but one drink each day.

Step 4: Repeat Step 2 and cycle weeks 2/3 for another 2 cycles.

Depending on when you took that first drink, this should take you out to about another month.

The endgame: It’s a recipe for success. At the end of this, you have been mindful for at least 60 days.

This post was submitted by the Forum’s SBRS

Featured post

Day 26 – Sometimes Dryuary Hurts


Inspirational Song of the Day: Rachel Platten – Fight Song

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
– Khalil Gibran

Why do a Dryuary? Why go 31 days? Why put ourselves through what is sometimes an excruciatingly stressful experience? Can’t we just keep trying, and keep trying again to moderate? Sometimes, maybe even most times, we are successful. What’s the big deal? Why do we set out on this sometimes brutal journey of one whole month without alcohol? What do we gain?

During a 31 day period there will be at least one super snazzy occasion where an ice cold martini would be just perfect, one to-die-for dinner that just begs for a glass of exceptional red, one argument that just sends you over the top, one glorious day of freedom alone with no commitments, one day that you are so bored out of your gourd that every minute lasts an hour, and one conversation that will set your teeth on edge. Guaranteed. Just read these posts by a group who did a group ‘30 days’ back in 2002. What’s amazing, but shouldn’t be, is that their posts sound an awful lot like our posts today, some 14 years later.

So, why do we do it?

You already know the answer. We do it because we want something better, and often the only way to grow is through stress and even pain.

Consider the lobster. Do you know how a lobster grows? It has a nice, comfy, really protective shell of a home to live in. Pretty nifty! Except the only way the lobster can grow is to discard that cool little shell and grow a new one. In fact, the lobster sheds and grows a new shell about 25 times in the first 5-7 years of life, and continues to grow for the rest of its life. It sheds its old shell, leaving it vulnerable to predators during the time it takes to grow that new one. Yikes, sounds a little intense! But it’s the only way that little guy can grow, and maybe the lobster can teach us a thing or two. Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski explains it really well here.

One of the main reasons we do 31 days and not a 20 is because in 31 days we are more likely to have the opportunity to experience all the situations and triggers listed above, to place ourselves in stressful situations, opening ourselves to predators (you know what I’m talking about) and learn how to deal with all of them without resorting to our little old shell, alcohol.

So, little lobster friends, almost all the way through our Dryuary. Maybe it has been mostly smooth sailing, in which case, good for you…seriously! You’ve given your body and spirit a nice break and you will be better off for it.

And maybe you have hit a few, or even more than a few, big ole bumps in the road, in which case, CONGRATULATIONS! YOU’VE JUST WON A BRRRRAAAANNNNDDD NEWWWW SHELLLLLL!!!!

Submitted by MM member HorseLover

Featured post

Day 27 – You Ain’t Much Fun Since I Quit Drinkin’


Inspirational Song of the Day: Toby Keith – You Ain’t Much Fun

“I sobered up, and I got to thinkin’, […] you ain’t much fun since I quit drinkin’ ”
– Toby Keith

I was sober for four years.

In those four years, I can count on one hand how many times I went out. I’m not talking about showing long-distance visitors around town or grabbing lunch with coworkers. I’m talking about happy hour, the club, house parties, anywhere people congregate for the sole pretense of taking a break from their busy lives to socialize. Visitors have nothing else to do, and coworkers need to get out of the office. Festivals, concerts, even interest groups have another form of entertainment than sitting around talking to each other.

For the most part, all of these social gatherings include alcohol. Besides the pressure to partake, there’s a sharp contrast between the token sober person and everyone else. We’re quiet and still compared to the loud, fumbling drunks. We don’t share much of the humor. We get annoyed when conversations are impossible and may not bother starting them at all. We leave early because we’re bored. We’d rather be sleeping or petting our cats or even sitting on our couches binge-watching Netflix by ourselves than waste energy trying to follow a conversation that doesn’t make any sense to begin with.

We’re “not fun” anymore. We get left out of plans, our interests and boundaries decided for us, and eventually we’re left behind completely. Did we do something wrong? Are we bad friends for putting our mental and physical health first? The answers are no and no. Often, these are the same people who have expressed concerns about our problem drinking in the past, or even experienced negative interactions with us when we were inebriated. Ironically, these important relationships are part of the reason we’re getting sober.

We’re not the ones who aren’t fun anymore. They are.

Almost three years ago, I started drinking again in hopes that I would like my then-partner more. Naturally, it didn’t work, but it sure made me happy. After we ended things, I went out and I met new people. In the last year alone, I’ve doubled my Facebook friends, many of whom were randos I met at a bar and wanted to keep in touch with. (On a side note, Facebook is an excellent way to weed out the creeps from actual decent people. If they can tolerate or even participate in my opinionated statuses and shares, they’re keepers!)
Drinking gave me an automatic connection with strangers, an opening to further conversation. Moreso in concentrated environments like karaoke bars. “What are you drinking?” “What are you singing?” Not to mention, the alcohol acted as a social lubricant to alleviate my natural anxiety and intolerance of problematic behavior. It was easy to talk to people. I was always laughing and having a good time, even in frustrating situations.

Then it stopped being a good time. Instead of the alcohol suppressing negative thoughts, they amplified. I would have emotional hangovers the next day, where I obsessed over everything I said and did the night before, which I unfortunately remembered in vivid detail. Sometimes, I didn’t remember, which led to awkward conversations and belated anxiety after I was informed. I didn’t believe it at first, but as time went on, I became more and more distrusting of my memory. Near the end, people could tell me I did anything and I’d believe it.

When I joined MM, I did a 30 right away. The initial reaction of my friends was better than I expected. A few of them offered to stay sober with me, and everyone I spoke to said they were proud of me and glad I was cutting back. My first night out was particularly memorable, as it was the last day of my 30 and I was as detoxed and refreshed as I’d been in two years. Strangely enough, I found caffeine to be a suitable alternative for alcohol, although I will argue that just replaces one addictive coping method with another.

After a couple months of alternating between moderating and abstaining, the social invitations diminished. I started making holiday plans to go out of town to avoid house parties. When I was in a different state, the FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) wasn’t as strong. I desperately wanted to keep the friendships that I had worked so hard to make and maintain, but I no longer had any interest in large gatherings where the only thing to do was drink. Even those who attempted “game nights” ended up a hot mess of loud drunks who couldn’t focus on any game for longer than five minutes.

Karaoke is all I have left, and even that is pushing my sober tolerance limits. I don’t like soda enough to drink it every weekend or pay $2.50 for a glass with no refills unless I also buy food, plus tip. I don’t want to wait until 9pm to go out and park down the street in the cold. I don’t want to wait in line for the single occupancy bathroom or put up with belligerent drunk people I don’t know. I’d rather Netflix and cuddle with my cat and go to bed when I’m tired instead of waiting until “one more song” to make the 20-minute drive home. I can see my friends another time.

Except that I haven’t seen very many of them at all. I can count on one hand how many times someone has made the effort to see me since I stopped going out every weekend. This includes mod days. Regardless of whether I’m moderating or abstaining, I have the same level of expectations when leaving my home. There has to be something mentally or emotionally stimulating in it for me, whether we’re playing a game or simply having a conversation. I am even open to watching Netflix with others, assuming their availability allows for weekly binge sessions.

And my tolerance for belligerent drunk people is extremely low. Not all drunk people are belligerent. On the contrary, one of my friends will yell hilarious things at the TV after a bottle of wine. Another has jumped around my living room trying to catch a moth, much like a cat. A third is no different from when he’s sober, aside from sucking more at video games. These are the people with whom I still have fun regardless of which of us is drinking and how much. I even befriended a family member who never drinks and is just as crazy and fun as those who do, if not more.

If sobriety leaves me with only four friends, so be it. I have enough going on with volunteering, church, and practicing self-care (all of which I started after joining MM); I wouldn’t have time for an action-packed social life as well. I’m okay with bi/monthly karaoke outings, making small talk with people with whom I used to spend entire weekends, and I may make an appearance at the occasional party in the hopes there will be games or interesting movies. Failing that, there is always the opportunity to meet new people whose entire social lives and idea of “fun” don’t center around drinking.

In retrospect, it seems unreasonable to expect a relationship that was founded by alcohol to continue once one party sobers up. My logic had been: “Well, we weren’t always drunk together, so it should be no different,” except what was always there was the promise of becoming drunk. If I’m bored or disinterested in what’s going on, it’s okay, I’ll enjoy myself more after a drink or two. While day drinking didn’t appeal to me, I often bided my time between waking and whenever was a socially acceptable time to start drinking.

Let them say I’m not fun anymore. Let them have their drunken gatherings and loud messy game nights without my high expectations of mutually beneficial entertainment ruining their good time. We have different interests now, ones that clash with the other’s, and that’s okay. If I ever decide to jump off the wagon, they’ll be there with a bottle of bottom shelf vodka, and if they ever decide to cut back on their drinking, I’ll dig out a spot on my couch for them underneath the gel pens and the cat. #NoFOMO

Submitted by MM member rckaye

Featured post

Day 28 – Got Plans?

“Be content with what you have; rejoice in the way things are. When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you“ – Lao Tzu

As the ‘finish line’ to Dryuary approaches, there is a ‘Yay! I did it!’ euphoria that comes with completing a month of abstinence from alcohol. And by all means, we should feel proud and a sense of accomplishment. It is natural to want to reward ourselves too. And how do many of us reward our commendable abstinence? By going out and drinking too much! It may not be on February 1st, but often we end up letting go of control and over-drinking right after finishing a month of abstinence, only to wake up and wonder ‘What happened?’ This was my experience after my first 30 days abstinent and I ended up right back at square one, with my habitual drinking habit unchanged.

In Moderation Management (MM) we talk a great deal about our plans for moderation. We talk about the details of those plans and about how important they are for staying the course of moderating. One of my favorite writings on moderation is called ’No Plan, No Chance’ by Paul Staley of Moderation Manifesto. In a nutshell, what Paul is saying is that without a plan to navigate back into the world of drinking, you don’t have a chance of being successful.

There are what I’d like to call micro plans and macro plans. Micro plans are plans for a particular drinking day. Do you have a wedding to attend this weekend and you’re worried that you are going to over-drink? How can you plan the day so that won’t happen? Maybe you will drink water or an alternative drink until the champagne toast and then have one glass followed by sparkling water. Maybe you will alternate wine with water and stop at three. You’ll make sure you eat something, park your drink for a while, focus on other things like dancing with the children. Or will you be the designated driver for your spouse or friends and completely abstain that day? Whatever your plan is, it is a good idea to go into a risky situation armed for success.

Macro plans are more long term, for a week or perhaps the month ahead. How many days do you plan to abstain this week? Are you going to stay By The Book (within MM guidelines) and abstain 3-4 days? Or do you have your own plan to aim for starting out with 1-2 days of not drinking? How many total drinks will you have this week? In a single day? Are there too many social events happening for you to stay within your own goals if you drink at all of them? Which ones would be easiest to abstain from?

Some people get discouraged at the idea of planning their drinks for the rest of their lives. “Don’t we ever get to the point where we don’t have to do this?” The consensus on this is, no. Many people have more flexible plans as they get more comfortable with their new drinking behavior, but there is almost always some level of planning involved. And I can’t stress enough the importance of having a plan when first returning to drinking after abstinence.

As far as I can tell there really is no finish line. I will need some level of planning and paying attention to my drinking and abstaining as long as I decide to drink. The plan may change with new things that I learn about what works and what doesn’t, but in some form or other will be there. Planning may seem like a drag for a while, but the benefits of being able to continue to drink while avoiding our old problems make it well worth the effort.

So what are your plans?

This post was contributed by The Forum’s Astrid

Featured post

Day 29 – Rediscovering Life On A Break

lentil reflects on an earlier break from alcohol:

Fridays still rank as my hardest days. On this most recent Friday, I finally surrendered to temptation on the “no sugar” front and nabbed a bunch of cupcakes to take home at the end of the night. Later in the night, as I sat on the couch feeling sticky, it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t even thought about hitting up the liquor store on my way home. Progress!!

I’ve already passed my 30 day mark, and I think I’m going to extend my “green streak” for a bit. Turns out, I really like the way I feel and act when I’m not drinking. Moderation seems like a fine goal, but not something I need to rush headlong towards… I am going to take my time, and maybe work on exposing myself to a few more ‘trigger’ situations first. We do have a vacation coming up mid-March, and I haven’t made any plans as far as drinking. Getting drunk sounds like a waste of good vacation time, but I doubt I’ll turn my nose up at a beer on the beach, should the opportunity arise. Mostly, I just don’t feel worried about it, and am hoping to save my energy for making sure that when we get home again, I don’t fall straight into old habits. So I guess I’ll plan on a mostly green March, with a week of undecided (but ideally no binges) during vacation.

Things that were hard about my 30+:

  • The first 7-10 days, especially Fridays (especially the first two Fridays). Each day was hard in different ways, but overall, much more challenging.
  • Realizing that I need to develop some new coping mechanisms for bad days.
  • Filling all this extra time, especially when my SO is away or my friends are busy.
  • Wondering what comes next.
  • Worrying that I’ll fall back into old habits.

Things that were good-to-incredible about my 30+:

  • Despite plenty of bad days and regular life stress, I feel strong and good about my continued choice to stick to my plan.
  • Feeling ‘not drinking’ getting easier with every week that passed.
  • Long, quiet, low-key evenings. Remembering the beginnings, middle, and end to all those evenings.
  • Terrific mornings.
  • Lots of positive support from my significant other. We are both so ridiculously busy that we spent less time together than usual, but the time we did spend was of much higher quality.
  • Went “shopping” in the box under the bed, full of clothes that were (at some point) too tight, and found two “new” pairs of pants that fit great.
  • Learned how to make yogurt (hey, don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!)
  • Suffered through a really bad head cold…and didn’t feel like I was to blame for making things worse by drinking.
  • Woke up early, feeling good, almost every day. Yes, in spite of the head cold from hell.
  • Sleeeeeeeeeeeeep. Not waking up at 3am feeling bad about myself. Being kinder to myself in general.
  • I got to watch and cheer for other people on a similar journey as I was this month. I got to watch and learn from people whose month was different, and learned a lot.
  • Felt more like myself than I have in a long, long time.

On balance, a great month for me. I’m hoping that if I do slip into old habits, then the next time that I want to make a change, I can look at my posts here and remember that taking a break is not as hard as it feels (and really, mostly only hard for the first week or two). I feel like I learned a lot, and also that my quality of life improved so dramatically over this past month that I hope I can keep building good habits for a long time.

This post was submitted by The Forum’s lentil

Featured post

Day 30 – Changes Since Day 3

On Day 3, you checked several aspects of your functioning (physical, cognitive, emotional, and interpersonal). Where are you now compared to then in these areas:

  • mood
  • sleep
  • focus
  • impulsivity (over-sharing on Facebook?)
  • tummy
  • allergies
  • eye bags
  • skin
  • interpersonal

If you’re like most people, taking a break improved your well-being in at least one way.
Some are so impressed with the benefits, that they have no desire to start drinking again.

For those of you who would like to indulge in moderate drinking, these tips can help keep alcohol a small, but enjoyable part of life:

  • Track: Users consistently rate tracking their drinks over time as their number one tool. Comparing results over time motivates most of us.
  • Avoid pressing the start button: For some folks, it is easier to not drink at all than to drink a little bit, because alcohol lowers inhibitions. Spacing drinks too close together raises the blood alcohol content past .055%, causing inhibitions to lift – both helpful and unhelpful ones. Well before slurring or stumbling, judgment is impaired, and it gets easier to say yes to another drink. Rationalizations like “I’m out with my friends!” and “They’re playing my favorite dance song!” are much more convincing after a couple of drinks.
  • Find your stop button: Pacing is crucial. There are tips in MM steps of change, along with a drinking diary that is well worth keeping when you first dip your toes back into drinking. Many folks on the forum take it slow using Gary’s Post 30 Thirty.
  • Surf urges: We’ve touched on this before, but again — urges rarely last longer than 30 minutes. If you can “surf” the urge – observe it without acting – you can usually ride it out.
    Congratulations on the investment you have made in yourself.

Remember:  There are many shades of gray between abstinence and moderate drinking. You can be mostly abstinent (e.g., drink less than one drink per week) — only on special occasions and/or in very small quantities). There is also cyclical abstinence, where you do these breaks every few months or so, to keep yourself from slipping into bad habits.  Experiments like Dryuary help you find the path that gives you the best quality of life.

Post Submitted by Donna

Featured post

Day 31 – The End Of The Beginning



Inspirational Song of the Day:
Kool & The Gang – Celebration

“Congratulations! You made it!” – Jimmy Fallon

The Last Day of Dryuary! The Thirty First Day…

Welcome to the final day of Dryuary! You are here, on the thirty-first day of the annual Dryuary Challenge. Regardless of how you got here, it’s time to celebrate such a long period of abstinence from alcohol!

The question is, of course, just how shall I celebrate? And beyond that, now that I’ve had a month to reset my body and its relationship to alcohol, what will that relationship look like going forward?

To begin with, your tolerance is now much lower than it was a month ago. When before you could have four or even five drinks before you felt tipsy, now it may take only two or three. And depending on how much you used to drink before taking this challenge, you might decide to either continue in the same way or change how you drink going forward.

My motorcycle riding buddy quit drinking in November and hasn’t had a drop since. I’ve never considered that he had a problem. Once in a great while I’d see him a bit tipsy at a big motorcycle rally, where we would either crawl into our tents at the end of the evening or walk to our motel. Never falling down drunk, and never extending past one single evening. And these episodes were few and far between – maybe once every couple of years. Curious, I asked him why he stopped. He said he was “enjoying it too much and wanted to take a break.” Fair enough, I said.

Maybe that’s you, too. Maybe you were a mostly moderate drinker before this challenge and just wanted to take a break. Now you figure you’ve had your break and will resume moderate drinking in February. No harm, no foul, good for you, and carry on! Maybe you felt that you were drinking too much, and really needed to stop drinking for a while to get a grip on your situation. Now you want to return to drinking, but you want to drink moderately from now on. Good for you! Read on!

Let’s get an idea of what moderate drinking really is. When you have made the healthy decision to drink less, and you stay within moderate limits, you should not experience any health, personal, family, social, job-related, financial, or legal problems due to alcohol. The suggested guidelines below allow for a degree of individual interpretation, because moderation is a flexible principle and is not the same for everyone. The suggested limits, however, are more definite.

A Moderate Drinker:
Considers an occasional drink to be a small, though enjoyable, part of life.
Has hobbies, interests, and other ways to relax and enjoy life that do not involve alcohol.
Usually has friends who are moderate drinkers or nondrinkers.
Generally has something to eat before, during, or soon after drinking.
Usually does not drink for longer than an hour or two on any particular occasion.
Usually does not drink faster than one drink per half-hour.
Usually does not exceed the .055% BAC moderate drinking limit.
Feels comfortable with his or her use of alcohol (never drinks secretly and does not spend a lot of time thinking about drinking or planning to drink).

The Suggested Limits:
Strictly obey local laws regarding drinking and driving.
Do not drink in situations that would endanger yourself or others.
Do not drink every day. The suggestion is that you abstain from drinking alcohol at least 3 or 4 days per week.
Women who drink more than 3 drinks on any day, and more than 9 drinks per week, may be drinking at harmful levels.
Men who drink more than 4 drinks on any day, and more than 14 drinks per week, may be drinking at harmful levels.

Now then, what is a drink? Silly question, right? Maybe not so silly. When I was drinking heavily, I’d take a big rocks glass full of ice, fill it half to three-quarters full of Jack Daniels, splash a little Coke in, and call it good. I’d have three or four of those every night. The truth is, each one of those drinks was probably close to three drinks, not just one.

Here’s the formula. To figure out how much of any kind of alcohol is one drink, divide the alcohol percentage into 60 and it’ll tell you how many ounces make a drink. For example, for a 5% alcohol content beer, 60 divided by 5 equals 12 oz. For a 12% alcohol content wine, 60 divided by 12 is 5 oz. How about an 80-proof whiskey? Well, proof/2 = percent. So, 60 divided by 40 is 1.5 oz. Hope I didn’t lose you there!

Some of you may decide you’d like some support in the form of a bunch of other folks who are problem drinkers, too. There are several to choose from. I suggest Moderation Management at moderation.org where you will find a couple thousand folks on a very active, non-judgmental email list, a smaller, more intimate gathering of folks in a web-based Forum experience, scheduled chats, a web page called *ABSTAR* where you can track your drinking, and a host of tools and activities to keep you motivated!

Whatever you decide, we’re glad you shared this challenge with all of us!
Best wishes for you in the New Year!

We hope to see you again next year for Dryuary 2018!

Post Submitted by: Just Plain Phil

Featured post

Day 32 – Ready For The Rest Of 2017?


Inspirational Song of the Day: Eminem – Not Afraid

Ready?

It’s been a while.
Most of you have been or will soon be returning to a life that contains alcohol.
In the past thirty one days, the contributing authors of Dryuary have done their level best to try to give you good tools, concepts, and strength for the year to come. Our Dryuary 2017 event has now ended, although the rest of the year, and accompanying challenges, lie before you.

We will still be here.
These posts are not going away until this fall, when we will prepare the site again for Dryuary 2018. And even then, this year’s event will be archived and will always be available on our Dryuary section of our sponsor’s website, moderation.org. If you need a refresher or just want to revisit a favorite post, they will be here for you for many years to come.

Your financial contribution is appreciated, and important.
Note that Dryuary is a gift from Moderation Management, our sponsor. Moderation Management is primarily supported by their participant members, and your contribution would be sincerely appreciated. If you can give $5, $10, $20 or more to help encourage us for next year’s Dryuary event, we would be very grateful. Your contribution is always respected. Moderation Management is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation so your donation may be tax deductible. (Please check with your accountant or tax professional.) See our PayPal button at the top of every Dryuary.org page.

Dryuary is for and about you, our participants.
Please remember – Dryuary is all about YOU. Your continued support and participation make this event possible. We will be preparing a much larger Dryuary for next year, and expect to include more interactive features. Each current subscriber will be notified (by a single email) when Dryuary 2018 is open for registration; after that this year’s mailing list will never be used again.

Seeking more support?
The people at Moderation Management are all lay individuals who seek solutions for their personal issues with alcohol. Every moderation.org administrator has been there, to the dark places in the night- and came out again, to help others. MM is all about people getting together to help each other find the answers that lie inside us all. All their services are available free of charge. Visit them at http://www.moderation.org.

Dryuary – A Good Beginning.
Be careful out there. See you next year.

Dryuary Administrator Kurt S.

Note: Our Sponsor, Moderation Management, invites Dryuary Participants to a Special Event:
“The Dryuary Experience” Discussion (and podcast recording) at 10:30PM Eastern Time on 2/3.
Starting at 10:30PM Eastern Time on Friday, February 3rd, we will invite any interested persons to join with us during the “Inklings” telephone meeting for a public discussion on “The Dryuary Experience“, about this year’s Dryuary event. This discussion will be recorded and (with basic edits) will create a new podcast which can next be found in the Events section of moderation.org.
We ask people interested in participating to consider joining us for the “Inklings” telephone meeting at 10:00 PM – or at least to connect before 10:30, to not interrupt the podcast recording.

The “Inklings” Phone Meeting is held every Friday at 10PM Eastern Time
(9PM Central, 8PM Mountain, and 7PM Pacific time.)
Call 1-(641) 715-3580 (Teleconference Service- Long Distance call, Iowa area code)
After Connecting, enter Conference Code: 236-913 and Pound Sign (#)
(See our Meetings page at: http://www.moderation.org/meetings/)

Featured post

Welcome to Dryuary 2017!

Congratulations- You have joined us for Dryuary 2017!

We are sending emails every day in January to help you stay focused; these messages will also appear here on our Dryuary.org website. Your job is to stay focused and resolved. You have just made a great investment in a healthier, more productive you.

To contact us, use your Email system and send to:
dryuary@dryuary.org

Dryuary™ is sponsored by Moderation Management™
Moderation Management™ (MM) is a national support group network for people concerned about their drinking and who desire to make positive lifestyle changes.

For more information, see www.moderation.org/whatisMM.shtml
Moderation Management™ is a 501(c)(3) IRS-registered non-profit organization.

 

Do you have fond memories of last year’s Dryuary 2016?
It is still online – visit the pages at:
http://www.moderation.org/dryuary/dryuary2016/

Featured post

Dryuary Music Selections

See our Dryuary Playlist at:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLtKPEAc3LODyqgB-CEfG99EH6LEpjcBJJ

Featured post

Dryuary Links and Resources

MEDIA:
Thousands of people around the world are taking January off from alcohol, and there is no shortage of media stories about it:

Raptitude.com – Goodbye Booze, For Now
http://www.raptitude.com/2017/01/goodbye-booze-for-now/comment-page-1/
“There seem to be three basic relationships a person can have with drinking. There are drinkers, dabblers and teetotalers.
Teetotalers never touch the stuff. Dabblers may have a glass of wine or a beer now and then, or even regularly, but they only occasionally have enough that they’d have to call a cab. They see drunkenness as an accident, a morally salient line one should avoid crossing. Drinkers get drunk on purpose, and obviously believe it’s worthwhile.”

USNews.com & Yahoo.com/News & Msn.com –
4 Surprising Things That Happen to Your Body During Dryuary

http://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/articles/2017-01-25/4-surprising-things-that-happen-to-your-body-during-dryuary
https://www.yahoo.com/news/4-surprising-things-happen-body-during-dryuary-131924257.html
https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/wellness/4-surprising-things-that-happen-to-your-body-during-dryuary/ar-AAme0Ln
Three outlets feature the same article on Dryuary by Journalist Heather Hausenblas:
“People who join in alcohol abstinence challenges like Dryuary tend to drink less – and have greater confidence in their ability to say no to alcohol – once the month is over, according to a 2016 study published in Health Psychology. The researchers also found that a month-long hiatus from booze is unlikely to result in ‘rebound effects,’ or drinking more following the dry spell to ‘make up’ for lost time.”

Handelsblatt.com – DRYUARY – TROCKENER JANUAR
Was ein alkoholfreier Monat alles bringt

http://www.handelsblatt.com/panorama/reise-leben/dryuary-trockener-januar-dry-january-challenge-wer-haelt-durch/19258096-2.html
This is Page 2 of a three part series that features Dryuary:

“Gemeinnützige Organisationen wie Alcohol Concern und Moderation Management in Großbritannien und den USA geben sich seit Jahren Mühe, die Idee zum Trend zu machen. Sie erfanden etliche Kunstworte für den wochenlangen Alkoholverzicht. Neben „Dryuary“ ist auch zum Beispiel „Drynuary“ häufig zu finden.”
(“Non-profit organizations such as Alcohol Concern and Moderation Management in the UK and the USA give for years effort to make the idea of the trend. They invented some artificial words for the week-long alcohol dispensation. In addition to “dryuary”, for example “drynuary” is often found.”)

PourModels.com intro to Dryuary TV Segement

PourModels.com intro to Dryuary TV Segement (Click for Page)

AleanElston.com – 3 Dryuary Recipes from my TV segment on What’s On Tap
http://aleanelston.com/2017/01/3-dryuary-recipes-from-my-tv-segment-on-whats-on-tap/
Local TV, South Jersey News – See the “What’s On Tap” episode HERE. (Jump to 10:02 for the segment.)
“Somehow somebody let me back on TV! lol If you are reading this its probably because you are looking for the information about the Dryuary products that I talked about on What’s On Tap. And if you are here by chance or because you missed that episode, don’t forget to check it out by clicking here. Here goes!”

Tctmd.com – Be It Resolved: How Alcohol Harms or Helps the Heart Remains Controversial—and Confusing
https://www.tctmd.com/news/be-it-resolved-how-alcohol-harms-or-helps-heart-remains-controversial-and-confusing
“Broadly speaking, we know that alcohol at that one to two standard drinks per day level in men and one standard drink in women has proven benefits in reducing the incidence of heart attacks, reducing the incidence of cardiovascular mortality, and even reducing total mortality and stroke,” Kistler said. “But it’s a J-shaped curve, so as we go beyond four to five standard drinks per day then [alcohol] becomes dangerous. And I do think we, as physicians, kind of struggle with implementing that moderation message.”

Blog: GodWalkedIntoThisBar.blogspot.com – Dryuary Countdown Special
https://godwalkedintothisbar.blogspot.com/2017/01/dryuary-countdown-special.html
“The book that 4 people are talking about! Available on Amazon for $.99 for the next 5 days.
Guaranteed results if you read this book! (okay, you can’t just read it, you have to do some other things, too. This recovery thing just doesn’t happen by reading, although I spent many years just ‘reading’ about it.)”

TheChronicleHerald.ca, Halifax Canada – Alcohol-free: ‘Dryuary’ trend gains momentum
http://thechronicleherald.ca/artslife/1431308-alcohol-free-%E2%80%98dryuary%E2%80%99-trend-gains-momentum
“Don’t be surprised if your friends decline an invite to the wine bar or turn down a cold beer this month. Dry January is becoming a popular way to detox after holiday indulgences and start the new year on a healthier note.
The New York Times recently profiled a man who has been practising a booze-free January on his own for the last decade. He believes a month without alcohol allows him to sleep better, have lucid dreams, and lose about 10 pounds.
But for those who thrive with peer support, there’s Dryuary. The annual event started in 2014 and more than 5,000 people have participated so far — vowing to abstain from alcohol for the month of January.”

TheLuxicon.com – Surviving Dryuary
http://theluxicon.co/surviving-dryuary/
“I don’t take issue with this practice alone or the notion that it’s sometimes necessary to scale back on indulgence. Dryuary, Drynuary or Dry January, all of which sound disturbingly close to a medical condition that one ought to avoid, approaches obnoxious when one cannot complete the task of abstaining one month without continuous reminders on Twitter, Insta, Snap, FB and any and all other platforms which presents an opportunity to visually shout, “I’m better than you!” ”

Wired.com – Delicious Non-Boozy Beer, Wine, and Spirits for Dry January
https://www.wired.com/2017/01/delicious-non-boozy-beer-wine-spirits-dry-january/
“The first weekend of Dry January is upon us, which means you may find yourself more tempted than usual to reach for a drink. Pro-tip: Find alternatives you can get excited about. Here are some brilliantly conceived beverages you’ll be delighted to drink—even when you’re not being a sober soldier.”

Vice.com – How to Not Be an A**hole if You’re Doing Dryuary
https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/how-to-not-be-an-asshole-if-youre-doing-dryuary
“Quitting booze for one month a year doesn’t make you a hero.
I, like many others who went far too hard on the rum and eggnogs in December, will be ringing in 2017 with Dryuary, aka Drynuary, the annual tradition Urban Dictionary describes as ‘the art of not drinking alcohol for the entire month of January.’ And it’s an art indeed.”

Chicago Tribune – Chicago bars have mocktails at the ready as Dry January catches on
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-dry-january-chicago-bars-0105-biz-20170105-story.html
“A month without drinking can feel long and arduous to some, especially when that month is January in Chicago. The days are short, the cold is unrelenting and a cocktail or two might seem like a good cure for the winter blues. Yet five years after Dry January launched in England, it’s catching on in Chicago, and scores of folks are depriving themselves of alcohol for 31 chilly days. Call it a new year’s resolution, a cleanse or a money-saving tactic. Whatever it is, Chicago bars are prepared, mocktails at the ready.”

YourBestWorstFriend.com – Everybody’s Sober But Me
http://www.yourbestworstfriend.com/home/2017/1/4/everybodys-sober-but-me
“I’m going to learn how to treat drinking as a nice thing to do occasionally. I am going to say no. I am going to sit in discomfort and nerves and learn how to deal with them in different ways. I am going to wonder if I’m saying the smart thing at the party. I’m going to be more jittery on the subway. I’m going to think more about my interactions.”

Yahoo Sports – “Dry Jan”, Week 1: Breaking Up With Booze
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/dry-jan-week-1-breaking-093900338.html
“If you think you can’t stop drinking, you should probably try to do it,” a close friend told me back in September. The friend was, at the time, celebrating one year sober with the help of AA. Now, I’ve been given a lot of advice about my drinking over the years, but it’s often the type I choose to ignore: “We’re going home after this one,” my friend will say as I order another round of tequila shots; “Maybe you’d have enough money to buy a house if you didn’t spend it all on alcohol,” quip my hilarious parents.

ApartmentTherapy.com – I’m Taking on Dryuary and Abstaining from Alcohol for the Month
http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/real-life-resolution-giving-up-drinking-for-dryuary-240047
“People don’t even agree on how this thing is spelled—Drynuary, Dryuary—so I’m not going into it thinking everyone will agree with my choice. Some experts say Dryuary, as we’ll be spelling it here, encourages binge drinking. Others say it’s one of the best ways to kick off a healthy new year. I’m sure the truth is somewhere in between.”

OhSoBeautifulPaper.com – A Mock Tai
http://ohsobeautifulpaper.com/2016/01/friday-happy-hour-a-mock-tai-mocktail-recipe/
“So, last month’s exploration of classic cocktails was cut a little short. We decided, with very little notice, to undertake a major house renovation project, the complete redo of our only full bathroom. Over the holidays. Yeah, we’re smart people. Anyway, we’re back this month to do something we’ve never done before: spend some time trying out mocktail recipes. Yup. This January is now Dry-uary. Let’s start with a mocktail version of one of our favorite Tiki drinks: A Mock Tai – Andrew”

GoBankingRates.com – Taking the Dryuary Challenge: How Much Americans Drink and Spend on Booze
https://www.gobankingrates.com/personal-finance/taking-dryuary-challenge-much-americans-drink-spend-booze/
“Most American adults spend $463 per year on alcoholic beverages.
If a month of holiday parties makes you want to swear off alcohol for a while, you’re not alone. Thousands of people across the U.S. participate in Dryuary, taking a pledge not to drink alcohol in January. Although some take part in the New Year’s resolution to achieve a feeling of control over their habits and life, taking a 31-day alcoholiday also makes financial sense.”

MedicalDaily.com – Life Without Alcohol: 2 Women, One 30-Day Physical And Mental Challenge
http://www.medicaldaily.com/life-without-alcohol-2-women-one-30-day-physical-and-mental-challenge-307734
“Every study I’ve ever read straight up says this is bad, unhealthy behavior — a strain on every organ in your body that can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and liver disease. For the life of me, though, I cannot color within the lines every single time.”

HuffingtonPost – Could You Survive One Month Without Alcohol? Here’s How I Made It
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mark-and-debbie-abbott/could-you-survive-just-on_b_5864424.html
“I’m still just as fun as before. And, so are you. So, don’t alter your plans.”

HuffingtonPost – How To Stay Social While Cutting Out Alcohol For ‘Drynuary’
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/08/drynuary_n_6438672.html
[It was] a month of exploring our city, going to places we normally otherwise wouldn’t, maybe explore instead of going to the restaurant or bar. It was fun.”

UrbanDictionary.com – Dryuary
The art of not drinking alcohol for the entire month of January. Participation normally arises on the 1st January from all walks of life along with phrases like ‘I will never drink again’.
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Dryuary

Slate.com – What a Psychologist Specializing in Addiction Treatment Thinks About Drynuary
http://www.slate.com/blogs/browbeat/2015/01/19/drynuary_and_moderation_management_s_dryuary_a_psychologist_specializing.html

EveryDayHealth.com – ‘Dryuary’: Taking a Month Off the Sauce
http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/trevis-gleason-life-with-multiple-sclerosis/dryuary-month-off-alcohol/

University of Washington – “Dryuary” 2014
https://www.washington.edu/wholeu/2014/01/21/dryuary-2014/

Business Insider – Dry January is terrible and you should stop doing it
http://www.businessinsider.com/dry-january-is-terrible-2016-1

Refinery29.com – Quit Drinking For A Month — & These 12 Things Happened
http://www.refinery29.com/quit-drinking-for-a-month#slide

Seattle Times  – Dry January Reactions: Shaken and Stirred
http://www.seattletimes.com/life/dry-january-reactions-shaken-and-stirred/

Dry January Tips from “Eat This”
http://www.eatthis.com/dry-january-tips

Time Magazine – Here’s What Happens When You Give Up Drinking for New Year’s
http://time.com/4162629/new-years-resolution-drinking/?xid=emailshare

NPR – Dry January: Giving Up Booze For A Month Does Have Benefits
http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/01/21/264568151/dry-january-giving-up-booze-for-a-month-does-have-benefits 

TheFix.com – 7 Ways to Prepare For An Alcohol Free January
https://www.thefix.com/how-do-dry-january

PsychCentral.com – Self-Care: Stop Neglecting Yourself
http://blogs.psychcentral.com/childhood-neglect/2016/01/for-2016-stop-neglecting-yourself/ 

InquiringMind.com – Urge Surfing – Substance-use urges rarely last longer than 30 minutes
http://www.inquiringmind.com/Articles/SurfingTheUrge.html

The Moderation Management Public Forum – About Lapses and Relapses
http://forum.moderation.org/showthread.php?63258-Lapses-amp-Relapses

Ocsober.com.au – Mocktails from a Mixologist in Oz
http://ocsober.com.au/about/mocktails/

REFERENCE BOOKS:
Good reading material, filled with knowledge and support for transformation

Responsible Drinking
by Frederick Rotgers Psy.D., Marc F. Kern Ph.D., & Rudy Hoeltzel
Good reading material, filled with knowledge and support for transformation
http://www.moderation.org/readings/books.html#responsibledrinking

Changing for Good

by Prochaska, Norcross, and DiClemente
The authors describe the stages of change and what must be done at each stage before moving on to the next.
http://www.moderation.org/readings/books.html#changeforgood

Sober for Good: New Solutions For Drinking Problems
by Anne M. Fletcher
For this best-selling book, author Anne Fletcher went straight to the experts: hundreds of men and women who have resolved a drinking problem.
http://www.moderation.org/readings/books.html#soberforgood

How to Control Your Drinking 2nd Edition
By William R. Miller, Ph.D., and Ricardo F. Munoz, Ph.D.
Many professionals in the alcohol field now accept that moderation is a reasonable and responsible goal for some (though certainly not all) people seeking to control their use of alcohol and to avoid developing more serious drinking problems. We have found that early stage problem drinkers can be quite successful in learning moderation.
http://www.moderation.org/readings/books.html#controlyourdrinking

Moderation Management “Steps of Change”
by Rudy Hoeltzel
Many of the people who look into MM have already tried to get rid of their drinking problem with a big, all-at-once effort of the will – but without success. This program takes quite a different approach. The better approach is to break the change process down into a number of smaller, more manageable steps.
(A free download, PDF)
http://www.moderation.org/about_mm/steps_of_change.html

DRYUARY FORUM: