How it Works – the Benefits of Dryness

5520526753_af3a1610e7_oOf course there are Benefits from going alcohol free, or simply cutting back.

Check out this article on HuffPost – where they affirm the multitudes choosing January as the month to Go Dry, Go Easy, or dry out after an alcohol soaked X-mas season.

Some of you may be choosing to do this because you are following along on Ready to be Thirsty – our annual challenge to go booze free for a month.  Or you might do it on your own, or as inspired by one of the Dry January campaigns out there.  Whether you are trying to get healthy or trying to raise money for a good cause, there a big bunch of awesome benefits for making the attempt:

  • Recoup your liver – it takes time for tissues to heal, enzymes to rebuild
  • Better hydration – give your cells a non-alcoholic beverage!
  • Mental clarity – gee whiz, I can think my way through the fog…
  • Reduced calories – you’ll get slimmer if you cut alcohol intake and replace with veggies instead of sugar
  • Extra cash – less money on booze means more cash in your pocket
  • Better sleep – your rhythms improve without alcohol to mess them up
  • No hangovers!

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Photo by Reuben Ingber via Flickr. Creative Commons.  No changes. 

Resistance & Futility, Temptations & Miracles

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Yes, as we make our way through the month of January, and the Ready to be Thirsty challenge we might be dealing with a little thing called… temptation.

As you deal with that primal urge for your favorite beverage, you’ll be able to notice your triggers.  Why do I want this now?  What is it that I really want out of this experience? What is alcohol going to give me right now that I cannot seem to get on my own?

  • a buzz?
  • an escape…or relief?
  • a jolt of pleasure?
  • a heightened (or lessened) experience?
  • a burst of confidence or courage?
  • the freeing of my mind,thoughts, wit, humour, or inhibitions?
  • alleviation of boredom?
  • fulfillment of my habit?

Whatever it is, that moment is the time to gain insight.  And perhaps we can ponder how might still achieve that desire in an alcohol-free, or even healthy way.  Exercise.  A book.  A phone call to a friend.

After all, many persons who do the challenge report that they fill that temptation with unhealthy replacements:  like chips or carb-filled snacks. Greasy food.  Sugar.  An indulgent binge-watch of Desperate Housewives.

Our need for that hit of pleasure in our minds is strong indeed.

Can we learn from this temptation?  Can be stay on the path and honour our commitment?  And if we can’t, can we pick up the torch and try to once again stay on the course?   You knew you’d be Thirsty!

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Top photo by erika dot net via Flickr.  Creative Commons. No changes

Lower photo by sharyn morrow via Flickr.  Creative Commons. No changes

The Spirits of the Season!

4168355718_b5c8cfccf4_oHo ho hold my beer.   Holiday season is here.

Time to eat turkey and fall into a couch coma.

Time to tolerate our extended family by sousing ourselves with gin and Wink soda.

Time to set up the Elf-on-the-Shelf surveillance to ensure a few weeks of good behavior.

Consume many products.  Venerate the notion of Santa, and the goodness he represents. Generously give a few bucks to the folks jingling the bells at the LCBO.

Feel the spirit.   No, no, really.  Pause and feel it.

Buy a tag from someone in front of the grocery store.  Wrap gifts.  Go to large distribution outlets and buy more things.  Breathe.  Listen to carols.  Hang stuff on the tree.  Hang lights on the trees outside.  Make stuff out of chocolate.  Eat chocolate.  Breathe again.

This is Christmas, X-mas, Yuletide. Feliz Navidad and Happy Holidays.

It is a crazy, whirlwind season.  Nowadays, it’s near impossible book anything non-Christmas into December, because everyone is so busy, well, doing Christmas.  Office parties, family parties, dance squads… curling clubs, hockey teams, gymnastics organizations…church societies, parades and downtown business associations.  They are all doing Christmas. It’s fun, it’s nuts and it’s beautiful.

But part of much of that, and part of the holidays on the whole…is drinkin’.  Lotsa drinkin’.

And eatin’.  Like it’s our last meal before the last dawn, generally.

You know that feeling, when you feel like a beached and inebriated whale, washed up on Aunt Margaret’s couch?

Is it any wonder, then, that many people choose to ‘go dry’ in January as a way to slowly allow for the reintroduction of water and vegetables…?

This Christmas season – try to go easy.  And if you don’t – get Ready to be Thirsty!

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Photo by Katrina Cole, via Flickr.  Creative Commons license, no changes.

Chah-lahnge!

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Do you think this game is easy?  It’s not easy.

For certain, as soon as you attempt to deprive yourself of anything – more accurately, anything pleasurable…then you begin to CRAVE that thing.

This January, we challenge you to challenge others!

After all, if you are going to do the Ready to be Thirsty challenge – and ‘go dry’ this January, then you are going to crave alcohol.  It’s true. You’re going to suffer (a little, a lot) as you miss its buzz, its social lubrication, its relaxation, its means as an escape…whatever it does for you…

So you may as well challenge your friends to endure all that craving with you. Don’t suffer alone!  At the same time, your friends and family and you will rediscover other things while you engage in the drying-out effort. It will be like climbing a small mountain as a team, and not letting each other quit…and regardless of how it goes, you’ll ponder and feel proud of the effort.

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And! You will find something in that dry desert, and it will look at lot like you and them.  Taking the challenge will bind you together in solidarity and commiseration, in laughter and activity, in the bonds of shared human experience.  I am no oracle, but I am not kidding, either.  It works.

So challenge others.  Challenge yourself.  Do it together.

Share, survive, endure, enjoy.  

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The Upside of Situational Sobriety

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When you look at the picture above – do you see a glass of water or a vodka on the rocks?  Very telling, kiddo!

Never one to shy away from skepticism, I thought I would do a little digging on the potential benefits of going Dry for a month.

After all – there must be a point to this walk through the dry desert in January, this Ready to be Thirsty challenge.  I ain’t doin’ it for the good of my health, right ??  Oh, wait….

Check out this article from Good to Know. You’ll see that the potential benefits of going dry for 31 days are numerous and huge:

  • reduced sugar intake
  • weight loss
  • improved sleep
  • increased clarity (or reduced ‘brain fog’)
  • better hydration
  • heightened sex drive
  • enhanced mood

All in all, there are 15 listed benefits.  So if it’s even half true, you’ve got seven-plus reasons to give this a try.   Thirsty is as thirsty does, folks – I’ll be liver-deep in benefits and invoking my sober spirit after Christmas, drinking tea and watching my spleen get leaner by the minute.

Join me on the journey and reap what you didn’t soak.

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A Dry White Season Reason

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Once again, not against my better judgement but actually using my better judgement, I will attempt to GO DRY this January.

Yep – January this year.  Like the Brits, doing their Dry January

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Or an amalgam of Canadian charities doing their Dry January

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Or a British Columbia charity, BeYouPromise.Org, hosting their Dry January:

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Seems like everyone is doing this sober thing in January.  Makes sense.  In December you’ll be doing some serious indulging.  You’ll be gorging yourself on butter tarts and beer, turkey and tequila, whiskey, wine and wasabi.   You’ll be engorged with the Holiday Spirit(s)!

And then you’ll be spending time whooping it up on New Year’s Eve, either at a party or parties, or strangely alone on your couch.  Any which way, you’ll have tied it on, soaked it up, drank it down, ate the roast beast and otherwise heard the Whos who-whoing down in Whoville.

And maybe, just maybe… you’ll need a break from the boxes and soxes, the drinking and slinking.  If you do pause from boozing, it’s weight you’ll be losing.  If you break from misbehaving, it’s money you’re saving.  And if you stop getting wetter, your sleeping’ll be better…

Don’t make me steal the sobriety alone.  Go Thirsty this January.

 

Shake Shake Shake your Chibuku

Above, you see a group of rugby players attempting to try an African-produced beer-type drink called Chibuku Shake Shake.  This is technically ‘beer’, but not as we know it.  It’s a thick milky, brown-ish alcoholic beverage from Africa, made from sorghum.

As you can see in the video, it is served in a milk carton.  Interestingly, it’s alcohol content is not constant – as it is first packaged, it starts with a very low concentration, and gradually increases over time (after you buy it, if you don’t drink it right away, it gets stronger).  But, after about a week on the shelf, you wouldn’t want to drink it anymore, as it goes bad.  In fact, seeing this video, you may not want to drink it at all, as it appears pretty bad to begin with!

I learned about Chibuku from the following map:

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This is from the BBC – a world map of the favorite or most commonly consumed alcohol drinks across the world.

Orange countries love beer.  Yellow colored countries prefer spirits (aka ‘hard liquor’), and red countries dig their wine.  But those green countries – they love ‘other beverages’ – which led me to discovering Chibuku and a variety of other interesting and obscure variants out there.

Follow this link to article and the BBC Booze Calculator.  This will let you plug in your own weekly consumption habits and compare to international drinkers and countries the world over.  Not sure how much Chibuku you’re chugging down, but maybe you want to check out how much beer Canadians actually consume…