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. 

Thus begins the Long Walk…

Quick collection of photos taken on my holiday to Morocco from October 9th to 24th, 2010.

Thus begins our long walk through the driest of January’s with Ready to be Thirsty.  I imagine some of us are feeling pretty dusty and dried out already, only five days in and four of them weekdays ;0

Now, I know we probably had a drink or two on New Year’s Eve.  Maybe even bubbly wine in a tall glass.  And we celebrated life, laughed and smiled, and lived as large as we could.  If only for a few fleeting moments, we were as alive as possible…

That’s what Dec 31st is – a recognition of existence!  Look at us, we are still here….we survived, we can see a bit of the future, and we roughly anticipate being alive for another cycle ’round the sun.

Whoop whoop, let er’ rip!

But this year, some of us realized that we were going to go real easy, or even give up alcohol entirely for the month of January as a psycho-social experiment or experience.  And maybe that’s different for us, as this new year begins to unfold.

All of 2017 might be different because we made a Dry Month or Dry January one of our resolutions.  We said to ourselves that we were going to examine and maybe change our relationship with alcohol, if only by virtue of taking an extended sober, clarifying look.  This is interesting, because it taps into our great human need for resolve – our need and want for control.  Or at least the illusion of it, to foster and nurture our sense of well-being.  Yes, we can make decisions that matter.

And whether we ‘succeed’ or not, whether we can influence ourselves strongly enough to meet our goals….we will have learned something just in the attempt.  A metaphor for our entire lives, no?

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Photo by Maarten van Maanen via Flickr. Creative Commons.  No changes. 

The Dog is High on Life!

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Have you ever noticed that dogs are generally high on life?

There’s that joke where the dog keeps track of his daily activities, like a diary…and everything he does… is his favorite thing:

DOG DIARY

8:00 AM – Dog food! My favorite thing!
9:30 AM – A car ride! My favorite thing!
9:40 AM – A walk in the park! My favorite thing!
10:30 AM – Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!
12:00 PM – Lunch! My favorite thing!
1:00 PM – Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

Meanwhile, the cat’s diary reads like the journal of a prisoner of war:

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets…

We could take a lesson from the average dog.  Yet as humans we do so much to escape from life, to cope with life, to deal with life.  And we spend a ridiculous amount of energy seeking out our favorite things…only to sometimes have contempt for those things when we finally get them.

Yet, if we lived and thought a little more like a dog, and found life to be more of a thrill than something to be endured, I bet you we would need a lot less alcohol. After all, many of us drink ritually… to de-stress, decompress or distract.

Maybe, just maybe, we could try to see why this is so, with a break this January, and go Dry, with Ready to be Thirsty.  Attempt to go alcohol-free, or merely cut back.  And!… find your favorite things.  Snowshoeing, hiking, skiing, hot chocolate, cooking, the company of others, whatever.

The dog days of winter are yours to discover.

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Photo by Ernst Grafenberg via Flickr.  Creative Commons.  No changes.

Dog/Cat joke as published by Funny 2

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.

How to Dry it Out and Up

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There’s got to be some anxiety out there about this going dry in January thing.  In our case, it’s called the Ready to be Thirsty Challenge.  All over the world, interested parties are prompting drinkers to forgo the parties – at least for this January.  Or, at least keep those parties dry and you can watch your friends get all tipsy and daft without you…

Maybe your office’s seasonal cheer is a gonzo freak-show like Office Christmas Party, I don’t know.  But maybe any and all of us deserve a break from the madness, following all the Yuletide gaiety.  And if so, here’s a few suggestions on how to do it right (according to Marie Claire – always take sobering advice from a fashion magazine):

A. Do the challenge with a friend – why go it alone?  Strength in numbers!

B. Focus on your hobbies and other interestsyou’ll have time to learn silk weaving, or learn about cosmic string theory.  Read a book, go snow-shoeing, try something new.

C. Get busy – keep involved in your passions, unless your passion is vodka

D. Treat yourselfsave your booze bucks and get your nails done.  Or buy a real screwdriver instead of a Screwdriver.

E. Stay away from your triggerslike, say, the bar/restaurant, or meals that typically would inspire beer or wine

F. Let people know you’re doing it – if you’re friends know you’re off the suds, they are less likely to tempt you!

G. Eat healthy, live healthy – If you’ve stopped sipping for January, you might fill the gap with all the chocolate you got for Christmas.  Instead, make the challenge part of a larger scheme to lose some weight, get active.  It could change your whole approach to winter…

Read the whole article here

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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…