I first started following Jon Gustin (aka The Tired Dad on Instagram) because I love his perspective on fatherhood. He’s super honest and authentic about what it means to him to be a good dad, which I’m always inspired by as a father. So I was really impressed to see him taking on Dry January last year, which has become continued sobriety since. I got to ask him a few questions to see what his experience has been with it, enjoy.
Chris French: What do you think about Dry January?
Jon Gustin: I love it. It’s what started my sobriety last year. I committed to doing cold plunges every day and not drinking in January. When I completed dry January, I was like, “I can do this thing.” Regardless, I think it’s a great way to start the year and really reflect on your goals—even if complete sobriety isn’t one of them.
What was it that made you question your drinking?
I started drinking when I was 15. I never went more than a few months without drinking until I was 37 years old. When my daughter was born, I feared of being an alcoholic father. Something I never wanted to be. So I had the intention, but failed miserably for six years. Covid and quarantine absolutely spiraled me into heavy drinking. I knew I needed help and started taking the steps.
My emotional regulation, anxiety, depression, and sleep are so much better! Who would’ve thought!Jon Gustin
How do you feel after not drinking for a while?
It was really rough for the first eight months. Just so much unhealed trauma was coming up. I never had to deal with those thoughts sober. But it’s been just over a year now and I feel amazing. I started to figure out who I am. Which as a 38-year-old, is crazy for me to think about. I mean, I knew who I wanted to be, what I enjoyed doing, and I could function in society, but deep down inside there was just so much that was hidden. I just numbed my true self for so long. My emotional regulation, anxiety, depression, and sleep are so much better! Who would’ve thought!
Any specific advice for anyone else considering quitting or taking a break from alcohol?
Be patient. Take it day by day. All my failed attempts had a lot to do with the mindset of either stopping forever or not at all. When I really grasped the day by day concept, I started making real progress. Get professional help especially if you are going through physical withdrawal, have a support system, and find some sort of goal/activity you can do every day to keep your mind busy. Walking was a saving grace. Also, cold plunges. It’s not for everyone but it was a main factor in my sobriety. I feel addicts need to be addicted to something. It just needs to be a healthy addiction.