Nothing's Dry in Seattle Come January

I've never been shy about my love of the toxic tonic. In fact, I take pride in the tolerance I've built, and my ability to drink other women (and most men) under the table. Sure, it's put me in some bad spots over the years. Like the time I challenged my large, rugby-playing male friend to a drink-off that I honestly believed I had a chance of winning. I probably don't need to tell you that it didn't end well. Or, in recent history, when I forgot I'm not still in college (read: not partying 6 nights a week) and overindulged in my old friend, Mr. Jameson.

But overall, I don't regret my glass of wine at dinner, or even the occasional (I stress occasional) Saturday-night bender that ends only with the appearance of the sun. Above all, though, I know my limits, and neither I nor my family or friends is concerned about my level of alcohol consumption. That's why I'm a little taken a back by the concept of Dry January.

Dry January is being heralded as a quick-fix weight-loss and mental-clarity solution. On Facebook, the group's tagline reads, "Start 2011 with a revolution for a resolution - NO alcohol for a month. How hard can it be . . . ?"

Seriously? When will we learn that depriving ourselves of something isn't ever the hidden answer to health? What ever happened to a little self-control? Or simply remembering the popular mantra "Everything in moderation"? I'm not advocating that those with a true alcohol problem should jump off the deep end and start double-fisting bottles of vodka; I'm merely saying that I don't understand the need for a whole movement dedicated to giving up the sauce. Isn't that what AA is for?

Now before I start getting hate mail from the masses, let me clarify that I'm not opposed to slowing down if your body is telling you it can't handle one more Jagerbomb. I have quite a few friends who've decided for one reason or another that they needed a booze break. I don't fault them. I'm just skeptical of the concept of putting a time stamp on the self-constructed "good" meter. What's the difference between February 1 and January 31? (Besides the inevitable reality that you'll have missed out on throwing back brews with your buddies during the college bowl games and NFL playoffs.) What's the benefit in withholding for 30 days only to get annihilated in a "YAY! I can drink again" extravaganza? It seems a tad disingenuous, and, honestly, like not a whole lot of fun.

When I asked my boyfriend what he thought about the idea of Dry January, he replied, "Ringing in the new year with sparkling water is like washing your child with wet wipes. Sure, it gets the job done but it takes all the fun out of splashing around in the bathtub."


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