shadows of half-full wine and coupe glasses

Dry January: “Do I have a Drinking Problem?”

01.03.2024 — Chris French

Hey! It’s Chris.

As some of you may know, I’ve been sober (meaning no drugs or alcohol at all) since February 2nd, 2007. Which is a long-ass time. But it started with one question: “Do I have an actual problem with drugs and alcohol?”

I love seeing this “Dry January” trend because it gives people an opportunity to ask themselves this question earlier than they might have otherwise — potentially cutting out a lot of unnecessary pain, suffering and wasted time. And I’m all about no wasted time in this short life.

All that said, I’ve noticed there’s so much online chatter about this that it’s a bit confusing, and in some cases very misleading. So I thought maybe it would be good to take a look at this more clearly.

Here’s the truth. In my experience, sobriety is NOT a one-size-fits-all thing. What works for one person might be precisely the wrong thing for another, and vice versa. But, I think it’s safe to say that, just like nicotine, gambling and refined sugar, alcohol is not *good* for anyone (see the actual health stats here). It might not be killing you, but it’s not a bad idea to ask yourself this question from time to time and maybe take a little reset from it.

I can’t tell you how many people have approached or called me since the start of the pandemic, knowing my story, to ask about sobriety and see if I think they have a drinking problem. Most of them I’d just listen and say “Mhmm… okay, I think you’re fine.” During times of uncertainty and crisis – think climate emergencies, global health emergencies, political upheaval, that whole bee thing – we are way more likely to fall back on whatever habits we have that can make us feel a little more warm and fuzzy, and briefly take the edge off. But, it’s also true that the numbers of people who developed real chemical dependencies and addictions over the past several years is staggering.

Just don’t drink… for the month! No big deal.

So, here we are. DRY JANUARY.

It is most likely that if you have read this far, it’s a great idea to give this trend a try. Just don’t drink… for the month! No big deal. That’s how it works, it shouldn’t be that hard. If it’s not hard, you don’t have a problem. If you find it a little difficult, that *might* be an indicator that you should keep an eye on it. And if it’s really challenging, and you find yourself thinking about it a lot, or going to the bar even though you don’t really want to, then ding ding ding you got a problem amigo. it’s time to reach out for help. Lucky you, we live in an age where there’s literally thousands of ways to get help with this exact problem! You can google it, you can reach out on social media, you can go to any number of AA meetings on zoom any time of day around the world.

And – this part is important – TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR. If you have been drinking heavily until now, you could potentially be facing some very real, very dangerous physical reactions by suddenly pulling alcohol out of your system. For real, do not fuck around here.

Otherwise, just have fun with it! I honestly would never go back to drinking. I feel so much better every day than when I was drinking all the time, the health benefits alone of living alcohol-free are unbelievable (like these). Not to mention the price difference at restaurants!

Love you, good luck.

Chris French