New year, no booze? One student’s try at a dry January

By in Opinions

As I forced open my mascara-andglitter- crusted eyelids in the late afternoon on Jan. 1, taking stock of my lost possessions and racking my brain to fill in what I’d forgotten about the night before, I — like so many others — quickly swore to never drink again.

Liberty from libations — but only for a month.

I’ve made this promise only thrice before: once after my high-school graduation, once after a seething heartbreak and once after a particularly shameful night of karaoke. Needless to say, I broke those promises, and I knew before I stood up from the bathroom floor on Jan. 1 that, in swearing off my vices forever, I’d made another insincere claim.

“Maybe, I’ll just do a dry January,” was what I said to myself in the mirror next.

What’s Your Cap? is a student initiative at the University of Saskatchewan that promotes awareness of and provides education on the risks involved with the overconsumption of alcohol. The group aims to create a culture of moderation on our campus.

Annually, What’s Your Cap? embarks on the Thinking About My Drinking campaign, offering rewards to students who pledge to “go dry,” by avoiding alcohol consumption for the month of January, and report on their experience at the end of the month.

What’s Your Cap? hopes that the campaign will get students thinking about the financial, academic, social and emotional implications of alcohol consumption to help them implement healthier drinking habits in the long term.

Though a 30-day cleanse is nothing innovative, the Thinking About My Drinking campaign sets students up for greater success by offering support and information along the way. Without a campaign like this, I would do nothing on my own, not even for my health or betterment.

On average, I spend about $80 per month on alcohol. I don’t think I drink too often, but I have expensive tastes and little self control. I usually spend the same amount of money on groceries during the same period of time. Perhaps, with my extra cash, I could eat a little better.

I expect to struggle most with the social side of things. I don’t like to party without a cup in my hand. For me, alcohol is often a conversational crutch — I know a good deal about hops — and although I love screaming ABBA’s “Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!” in a crowded bar on Sunday nights, without a drop of liquid courage, I will most likely stay in my seat.

That’s probably not a bad thing. There are other ways that I like to unwind, I’m excited to invest a little more time into my other hobbies and I’m sure my friends will still hang out with me in other types of settings.

I’m most interested to see what a month of sobriety might do for my mental health. Hangovers have never benefitted my emotional well-being, and I notice a tendency in myself to slip into depressive periods following times of excessive alcohol consumption.

There can be no harm in challenging yourself to do healthy things, right? Stay tuned to see.

Emily Migchels / Opinions Editor

Photo: Michaela DeMong