I just wrapped up a whole month of not drinking. Drynuary, or Bon L’iver as I sometimes referred to it, is the practice of refraining from all alcoholic beverages for the entire month of January, either to reset the ol’ liver following the harsh holiday season, to start the new year with full clarity, or to simply add torture to events where drinking is encouraged and even free. If you really want your Drynuary commitment put to the test, go to an art opening. There, the only perk to not drinking is being the only one without unsightly purplish teeth. Which is actually a pretty decent perk.
But in bars, where the environment is one that both encourages and expects you to drink, it was surprisingly easy. I had a “purpose” for not participating in the drinking aspect of our social outings, which probably made the decision more acceptable to my sweet, concerned friends than if I’d said I just didn’t want to. Some were less on board with my month-long commitment, but as their drinks kept coming, they cared less and less and just wanted to tell me the same stories that they’d told me a half hour before. And probably a few they thought I’d forget, if only they’d remembered that I hadn’t just done a 4th vodka shot like they had.
Honestly, Drynuary was a blast. Well, the opposite of a blast maybe. Not only did I save myself some dough and get first-row seats to the mess of a show my friends put on each weekend, but I also caught up on projects I needed to tackle (more time spent staying in and getting up earlier in the morning) and felt invigorated and refreshed. All the things my booze-loving friends hated me for when we met up for brunch the next day.
Now that my race to liver revival is finished, I’m a little surprised to find that I’m not scooping ants out of my pants to get to a bar. Last night, I treated myself to a savory Scotch ale over dinner at home, which made me more than tipsy after one and a half glasses. Granted, it was a hearty 8.5%, but my newly sensitive baby liver had a hard time stomaching that second one. And now I wonder why it should have to. I’m glad to have my freedom back, to be able to say yes to a glass of wine with friends or a cocktail dinner. But now that I’ve given it a trial run, I’m also happy to stick with the kiddie cocktails of my youth. Souvenirs from the days when a single Shirley Temple kept me wired for hours and a root beer with pizza meant I was about to let-the-eff-loose and dance on the sofa to Arsenio Hall later.
So if you walk into a bar and see a girl nose-deep in a sugar-saturated glass, heckling the bartender for just one more maraschino cherry, you’ll know who it is. Maybe you’ll even join me? All the cool kids are doing it. Blake Lively, Jennifer Lopez, David Beckham, Katy Perry. See? Wasn’t kidding.