Dry January | Halfway Update

'Sup mes amies? It's Friday, I'm feeling good, and I just realized I am about to mark the halfway point through Dry January! Actually, if we're being technical, I've been at this way more than 15 days, but we'll keep it simple and just say I'm halfway through this thing. 

For those of you not in the know (and why aren't you? C'mon now!) I committed to abstaining from alcohol for the entire month of January. I felt it was not only needed, but a great way to kind of reset everything and be super focused going into the new year with all of these new opportunities ahead of me. 

So let's review the good and bad things I've experienced so far...

The Good

My Skin

Yep, my skin is bomb-ass. This time last year, I started the whole 'medicinal purposes of wine' thing, and I remember going to Ulta to buy a green tinted base to combat how red my face was all the time. Then I put 24 hour foundation over it and set it with photo powder. Damn. Typing that out kinda made me wince a bit because I think that's how they make up corpses for viewing at funerals. Ick. 

Now I'm happy to say and humble brag a bit that I don't even wear foundation anymore. Just BB cream and the PMS breakout has been minimal. 


Funny how you remove 600+ dehydrating, empty calories from your diet a day and weight just peels right off. I had some serious bloat happening before Thanksgiving, and it's all about gone now. I'm back in my smaller size clothes and not praying to the Spandex god for denial and forgiveness. I'm also not eating as much probably because my blood sugar has stabilized over these last few weeks and isn't spiking and diving trying to figure out what to do with all of the wine.

Better Mood- Less Stress

My mood has definitely gone into major chill mode. I don't get riled up as easily and I cope with life stress a lot better than I was in the fall. Again, PMS wasn't the roller coaster of homicidal tendencies and wishing I didn't say the things I said. I'm not as hard on myself and able to be slower in my reactions. I'm also just sunnier and happier in general. I'm better organized, more motivated, and procrastinating less.


I'm going to do a super detailed post about this and my lifelong battle with insomnia, but my sleep is definitely improving in huge ways. I have gone from needing wine/Advil PM (either/or - not together) to get a sort of decent night of sleep, to stepping down to just melatonin, and now falling and staying asleep without anything. 

The Bad

As much as I'd like to wax that everything is kittens and rainbows with all of this, let me tell you Dry January hasn't been without its challenges.

Overwhelming Exhaustion

Probably the single worst thing about giving up nightly wine is the overwhelming exhaustion that came with it. I'm fine during the day, but when 9pm hits, I literally become paralyzed with tiredness and have to will myself out of bed when my alarm goes off. Today I noticed it was much easier to wake up this morning, so maybe that is just a side effect of your body detoxing a year of nonsense.

Digestive Issues

Holy mother of craps. Lol, I wish, but the opposite is true. As someone who boasts about their iron constitution, I can let you and the world wide web know that for the first time in my life I learned about the awfulness of irregularity and gas. Wow. It is no joke, painful, and I will never roll my eyes again when someone is out of sorts because they can't poop, nor will I suggest fiber or any other trite bullshit. I will offer only sympathetic nods and hugs from now on. It truly is a hell like none other and I never in my life have thanked my sky daddy for a bowel movement until I was finally granted one after a fortnight of prayer.

Physical PMS symptoms

While my emotional PMS symptoms were just about eradicated, my physical ones came storming in, lest I forget Aunt Flo has heavy, old fashioned suitcases. Huge painful boobs, water retention, etc. I was basically the 'suggested use' side of a box of Midol.

Sugar Cravings

I hate sugar. I don't have a sweet tooth, but damn if I wouldn't cut someone for a piece of cake these last few weeks. I literally ate chocolate cake for breakfast for two full weeks when I gave up drinking. When Instacart brought me hot chocolate last Saturday I nearly wept for joy and considered it one of the best days of my life to date. I can't even remember the last time I drank hot chocolate... Reagan administration? I read that it's a common side effect of giving up the sauce because your pancreas is basically a workaholic who's on vacation and doesn't know how to relax. "I AM USED TO GALLONS OF SUGAR WATER!!! I HAVE NOTHING TO DO! I NEED SUGAR TO PROCESS!" Sorry, pancreas. Take a break. See liver over there? She's chillin'...resting...just laying there feeling good about herself...

Peer Pressure

Holy fuck, people are assholes. There, I said it. Lordy. You simply say, "No thanks, I'll have a Diet Coke," and they're all, "WHY OMG ARE YOU AN ALCOHOLIC WHY AREN'T YOU DRINKING WHAT IS WRONG WITH YEWWWWWW?! HAVE A DRINK! DON'T BE A LOSER!"

Like, seriously guys, when the hell did this happen? I didn't even drink until I was 25 years old and I have more peer pressure now than I did at underage keggers. Like, chill and let me have a Diet Coke for chrissakes. It makes me feel bad for people like my friend, Louis, who just don't like drinking. It's not a prerequisite for having fun.

Beyond that, I have to say it has been an overwhelmingly positive experience and I'm excited to see what the second half of this challenge holds. It's definitely been the reset I was looking for, and truth be told? I don't crave wine or miss a second of it and it's shown me how easily something becomes a mindless habit that can head down the road to dependency just out of comfort and repetition.

Now if you'll excuse me, my herbal tea is ready.  

Jennifer Gulbrandsen