Though it was Tennyson that implored us to “ring out the old” at the start of the new year, it’s teetotalers the world over that encourage us to wring out our bar rags each January by committing to a month of sobriety in order to reassess our relationships with alcohol. Some call it “Dry January,” others “Sober January”- but call it what you will, this year I am proud to join their ranks. For the month of January, I will not drink any alcohol unless I am sad or angry or at work.
What is most appealing about staying sober for January unless I am sad or angry or at work is that it is a realistic and achievable goal: no cold turkey jitters, no “shame spiral” if I slip up. The plain truth is that sometimes I get a little blue, and drinking a lot of alcohol very fast helps me feel less depressed. In fact, after drinking, I often don’t feel anything at all! It does make me feel drunk though, and feeling drunk is definitely preferable to feeling sad, so it is okay for me to drink in January when I am sad.
Please do not get the impression that I am always sad, though! At other times in an average day, I become extraordinarily angry, overwhelmed by thoughts of those who have wronged me and consumed by the paranoia that all people, institutions, and social systems have conspired to personally screw me over time and time again. It’s a bitterness of my spirit that can only be tamed by bitter spirits themselves, by which of course I mean lots and lots of alcohol. True, sometimes the alcohol only exacerbates my rage, but that really only happens once every of couple times. Staying sober unless you are sad or angry or at work is all about knowing yourself!
Often too I will drink at work because c’mon, there’s no way I’m substitute teaching those kids without a drink. Have you seen kids these days? Kids these days are worse than ever.
Staying sober unless I am sad or angry or at work for the entire month of January will certainly take discipline, but finally taking command of my life and my choices? I’ll drink to that. Because I am also allowed to drink when I am happy.