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Day 29 – What Comes Next

“Everything you are used to, once done long enough, starts to seem natural, even though it might not be.”
– Julien Smith, The Flinch

So you committed to Dryuary, and you’re well on your way to finishing. That’s great. I mean, that’s fan-freaking-tastic. Pat yourself on the back, because you deserve it.

Go ahead, I’ll wait.

You put in the work. You learned how to say “no,” how to plan for sober outings (and innings), maybe even dug into why you got to this point to begin with—whatever that point may have been.

We’re all here for a reason, after all.

But soon Dryuary will be over. The festivities will cease, the month will end, and soon your self-imposed doors will open and you’ll be free to moderate as you please.

Are you ready for what comes next?

It’s okay if you’re not. It can be scary to think about going back into that world after spending so long in the safety net of abstinence. In fact, some people decide not to go back, and that’s okay too. That is totally your call. If you want to stretch out your 31 into a 60 or a 90 or an infinite abs, right on. You do you.

The rest of you, who might be stressing out about how to go about moderating after spending an entire month saying “no“ and staying sober, I got you.

Here’s the trick: you’re still gonna stay sober. The goal with moderation is to drink slow enough and less frequently so that your blood alcohol content (BAC) does not have the chance to cross that threshold into legally drunk.

Recently, a companion of mine completed 100 days abs and I made them a moderation basket of goodies and tips to use during their first time drinking again.

Moderation Care Basket

Contents: Ocean Spray Mocktails, adult coloring books & colored pencils, 6oz plastic wine glasses from the Dollar tree, 0.5oz/1.7oz “jigger” for hard liquor pours, fidget dodecahedron, journal and gel pens, bubbles, calendar (manual ABSTAR), index cards

One of the index cards states the drinking limits as shown in the MM Steps of Change, and the others were my own personal tips:

General Moderation Tips

  • One drink every hour
  • Water down mixed drinks
  • Alternate with water or non-alcoholic beverage
  • Pour beer into smaller cups

Drink because you want to, not because you are bored, sad, mad, upset, or some other strong emotion.

First Time Modding

  • Drink in a safe place with safe people
  • Drink s  l  o  w  l  y
  • Journal your headspace afterwards
  • Each drink and the next morning
  • Aim low and raise your limit next time

Your tolerance will be lower after abstaining for so long.

The best part is you’ve got time to make a plan. Part of why Dryuary exists is so you and me and everyone who participates can take a break from drinking and think about what we really want to get out of our moderation experience. Social drinker? Wine at the end of a long day drinker? Craft beer connoisseur? (Guilty.) Create your plan around your own interests and limits, being mindful not to fall into old habits.

Something I’ve learned along the way is that 3-4 moderation days a week gives me a lot of opportunities to relax or reward myself or try that new drink. I don’t have to do it all in one night. In fact, I’ll enjoy it more if I space it out! I have it on good authority that the alcohol won’t go bad if I don’t finish it. It’ll still be there tomorrow, or the next day, or even next week.

So, you don’t have to plan a big party on February 1st to test out your newfound mod skillz. As it’s a Thursday, you may be better off having a drink or two with your sig-o or a trusted friend and see how that feels. Make sure to journal your feelings after your first and second drinks, and again the next morning. If that all feels good, you can try for three drinks next time, then maybe four if you’re a larger person.

I’m good at two. I don’t feel like drinking anymore after two. Either it’s already so late, or I’ve consumed so much liquid that my stomach is full. My favorite is those flights of beer at some of the local bars where I live. You get four 5oz glasses of the beers on tap, usually ranging from 5.5-9% ABV. I don’t like the taste of the higher percentage brews. I’ll order one of those flights and be set for the evening.

I am also weak for sangria. I’ll make my own for social gatherings, watering down my own pours and stocking up on the fruit to enjoy the taste without all the alcohol. I have a lot of tricks. I’ll buy a mix-a-sixer of seasonal brews and hand a friend the rest of the bottle after I pour my 6oz Dollar Tree wine “glass“ For Thanksgiving last year, I made spiked apple cider with salted caramel vodka and brought along sea salt and caramels so I could make a nonalcoholic version to drink after my allotted two alcoholic ones.

Moderation is arguably all about plans and tricks. You have the unique opportunity right now to take the time to design the path you want to take after Dryuary ends. You have the tools, the resources, and the support. We are not going anywhere after January 31st. We’ll still be here, sharing our stories and building each other up.

What comes next is up to you.

You got this.

Post Submitted By: RCK, MM Member