January 22, 2021
It’s been 22 days since I’ve had a pint of my precious alcoholic craft beer. As much as I preach the benefits of Dry January to anyone who will listen, it hasn’t always been easy. Until you go dry, you don’t realize just how much our society is wrapped in drinking - every occasion (birthdays, Christmas, Tuesdays…), every landmark event (hello Inauguration Day!), and every stressful week, I wanted to crack a can to unwind. On top of that, I’m currently the marketing manager of a craft brewery. That means lots of tastings, beer chats, and too much free product. But, I’ve stuck to my guns, and it wasn’t that bad - until last weekend when I hosted our monthly sister sleepover.
For a little context, I live in an incredibly lucky corner of Canada where we’ve had next to no COVID 19 cases. Our grand total is 109 since the pandemic started with no hospitalizations or deaths. This means that we’re in the unique and incredibly fortunate situation to have small gatherings of people within our bubbles. My 3 sisters and I generally meet monthly at my house to eat, drink, and catch up for the night.
Our sister group chat was alive with excitement over the coming sleepover. As it always does, it gradually evolved from what we’d be eating and watching to what we’d be drinking. I told them I was doing Dry January, they answered “good for you!” and the conversation continued. However, I knew it was one thing to say I was not drinking - and a whole other thing to remain sober while hosting people who are drinking in my home.
But, I had a game plan.
Before my sisters came over, I grabbed some of our non alcoholic beer Libra (#workperk), and I had my favourite shrub for delicious alcohol-free cocktails. My guests arrived, the food was cooked, and the corks were popped. The rest of the night was spent eating, drinking, laughing, and staying up way too late. So, how did I feel?
Surprisingly, totally fine. Honestly. It was way less of a deal than I thought it would be.
The night of sobriety amongst drinkers taught me that it wasn’t really about the alcohol in the drinks for me. It was about the ritual of having something fizzy and tasty in my hand to feel involved. The night was fantastic and full of laughter and I didn’t miss alcoholic craft beer at all - and when my sisters woke up weary and bleary the next morning while I bounced out of bed, I had no regrets. They left for some greasy breakfast and a nap, and I went for my morning run with a giant smile on my face. I played with my kids with energy to spare. I cracked another Libra while I was making supper.
The ritual stayed the same, just the alcohol disappeared. Having a delicious alcohol-free option in my hand made it so much easier to go without.
So, the big question: will I remain sober for life? Probably not. Will I cut back significantly in the future? Definitely. I challenge you to think about why you drink in social situations and swap high-cal alcohol for low-cal fizzy options, like Libra and alcohol free cocktails. You may just surprise yourself - and you definitely won’t regret it the next morning.
Marsha Gallant is the marketing manager at Upstreet Craft Brewing, a mom of two lovely mini-dorks, and a craft beer enthusiast. She spends her spare time baking, running, and drawing monsters with sharp teeth for her 6 year old.