Day 2: Incentives Are Good!

“The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. The opposite of addiction is connection.”

Johann Hari

My first Dryuary was last year, January 2021. I had successfully managed 30 days of abstinence once before, prior to finding MM, by sheer white knuckling, and I drank on day 31 to excess. For many years, I have stated I would be sober in January, and usually made it about 10 days before completely throwing in the towel, and going right back to my usual level of drinking. 

So what was different last year? 

To start with, I was tired of playing the same games with myself around drinking. I was tired of thinking about it. With the insanity that was early 2020, my daily drinking reached an all time high due to my pandemic anxiety. School was shut down, work was looking very different, and it seemed like each new day brought more surprises. As many of us know, drinking actually tends to exacerbate anxiety, and I realized it was time for a change. I needed to focus on my health and wellbeing in ways that served me and didn’t harm me. After spending months in a haze, my best friend and I decided to take up backpacking, and started planning a 3 day trip into the Mt. Hood Wilderness in Oregon. Drinking every day did not coincide well with hiking multiple times a week. I started to cut back simply to avoid hungover physical activity. I also could not afford the weight of alcohol in my backpack, so I had to be able to string together at least 4 days of sobriety to do this trip. I am happy to report we were successful and I have kept up regular hiking since that time, as being in the woods helps to keep me balanced and focused on what matters. 

Right around the same time I started hiking, I found this amazing community on Facebook, Moderation Management. I started engaging in posts and learning about the tools to delay and reduce my drinking. All the other groups I had tried over the years were abstinence focused, and this group focused instead on reduction. There was no “day one” and no resetting myself to zero if I had a slip, making me feel like a failure. I now had a group to share both my struggles and my wins with. 

When January 2021 rolled around, I joined the Dryuary group. I also started reading a book, Quit Like a Woman by Holly Whitaker, that I had been hearing good things about. Last year’s Dryuary group also started a book club meeting about this book. It was my first MM meeting, and I really enjoyed the conversations and community. The combination of “quit lit” and book club conversations around it, along with the Dryuary and MM facebook groups, kept me motivated through the month, and before I knew it, the month was up! 

Following Dryuary, I was able to complete another 5 months of sobriety, staying abstinent through the first half of the year. Without MM, I don’t know that I would have been able to maintain this. 

MM arrived in my life just when I needed the additional support to start making real life long changes to my relationship with alcohol. Though my journey has not been perfect, and I have occasionally overindulged, I can tell you that 2021 is the most time sober I have logged, aside from pregnancy. MM keeps me connected to a group that supports my healthy choices and lifts me up with encouragement if I slip. Dryuary was a huge part of the catalyst to making these changes. 

Bio: Wendy S 

Wendy is a social worker and married mom of two teenaged boys. She comes from a family with a long history of “functional alcoholism” and is working hard to break that pattern for her children. Wendy is an ambassador for Athletic Brewing Company (non-alcoholic beer) and writes an outdoors blog with a friend in additional to her work and family life. You can find her blog at Instagram handle @twomiddleagedmoms