Drynuary Halfpoint Check-In

John, how’s it going? Are there any questions that came up in the comments of the first Drynuary post that you’d like to address?

John Ore: Fourteen days (and two weekends of NFL playoffs and Downton Abbey) in, it’s going swimmingly. The odd bump in the road (more on that later), but still riding high and mighty and dry.

Our first Drynaury chat reminded me that, while I’m old hat at this, we’re welcoming more newcomers into the fold each year. And that perhaps begs a quick review:

1) It’s called “Drynuary.” Say it quickly, it sounds sort of like “January.” Some folks out there hate the name. For that, I do apologize.
2) It happens in January. After the holidays, in a stout month with 31 days.
3) It’s a month (give or take). It’s a commitment.

Now, this isn’t parochial, and everyone is definitely encouraged to make this their own! I’m just offering up some background on how Drynuary came about for ME. As with everything, the opinions and viewpoints expressed are mine, and don’t necessarily reflect those of the management. (Who conveniently opted out this year.)

Well, did you see that not-drinking is ruining your body and life?

JO: New year, same British denial that Drynuary should even exist, like Keyser Soze. So-called physicians in striped Cardiff party shirts making assumptions and moralizing about what you allegedly do with the other 11 months of your year are clearly in the pocket of Big Pint.

Look, Drynuary is a bit of a lark, a goof. Whining about it is part of the fun, sure, and it’s a challenge, but you shouldn’t take it so seriously that you become a bitter dullard. If the Brits had their way, I suppose we should also get rid of spiritually fulfilling personal endurance challenges like Tough Mudder, marriage, Half Marathons, or nine-course tasting menus. Oddly enough — based on a non-scientific sample of Twitter — it seems that Drynuary is quite popular in the UK. Classic English internal conflict.

To me, Drynuary is as much of an example of the axiom If It Feels Good, Do It as is having a martini with a steak. Not sure why people insist on trying to deny us the pleasure of abstinence. We ain’t hurting anyone, except maybe the livelihood of our local wine shop.

Fine, that article is actually kind of weird.

But anyway. Any dark moments? I think around this time last year I justified getting a glass of wine with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and got kind of trashed off … well that first one, and then I had two more. And I guess that was my Drynuary 2012 confession.

JO: Let it out. I must admit, the NHL lockout ending was my first legitimate brush with temptation. It’d been awhile since I wanted a beer that badly at 9 a.m. on a Sunday. Then we went to a dinner party over the weekend, brought a bottle of wine for the hosts, and pounded cranberry-and-club-soda all night. Plenty of walking into the lion’s den and laughing in the face of the lions, who are bartenders in this analogy.

If you’ve gotten through the first two weekends, you are well on your way. I’m not saying you’re home free, but when you get into the double-digits, there’s a certain sense of cruise control that kicks in that can help ward off those two beers staring at you from the back of the fridge. But keep your head on a swivel: In my experience, around Day 20 you’re getting bored and fidgety. You’re tired of tea and club soda. Stay frosty, try some new drinks that can occupy your mind as well as your taste buds. The bonus? Some of those drinks can act as mixers once you fall off the wagon. Scalability starts in Drynuary.

Why are you doing this to yourself?

JO: The British medical establishment and other armchair psychologists would have you believe that I’m doing this to have an excuse to do keg stands for the other 11 months out of the year. Because it’s so much of a comfort to be wallowing in an April hangover and thinking “Hey, at least I have Drynuary!”

This is our 7th year at this, and it’s almost as much of a habit as having a couple of beers after playing hockey. It’s also nice to not have to think of a New Year’s resolution.

After the first week, my jeans already fit better. That, in and of itself, is worth the price of admission. For me, there’s always a bit of vanity involved, so if it makes me feel better and better about myself, why the Hell not?

I wonder if Urban Outfitters, etc., sell calendars with just the jokey months in them. Movember, Drynuary, whatever else there is.

JO: I like it! When my wife and I were actively trying to get pregnant, we made up names for the months to reflect our effort. Schtuptember was my favorite.

But seriously, why are you doing this to yourself???

JO: Clearly, for the attention.

I love wine!!!

JO: Me too! It tastes so good after wandering in the desert for 30-odd days. Plus, it makes me such a cheap date.

We’re halfway there, gang. How are we doing, exiled wine-lovers?