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The Dry Spell

In the booze biz, it's pretty common for people to take sabbaticals from drinking alcohol. I know dozens of writers, PR people, liquor store workers, distributor sales reps, and bartenders who've taken anywhere from two weeks to six months off from the sauce.

Finally, it was my turn. I just finished a two-week break from booze. I liked it.


It is hard for me to schedule breaks like this because my typical work week involves no less than three drinking engagements, but usually a lot more. Heck, many days I have three booze-related events back-to-back. So when I saw that I had almost no events on my calendar for the weeks of Christmas and New Year's I knew it would be perfect. 

A break from booze allows you to detox, confirm that you're not an alcoholic, consume a few less calories, and just step off the party train to collect your thoughts.

So here are my thoughts.

  • It wasn't nearly as hard as I had imagined. I didn't tell too many people (or blog) that I was taking a break because I was afraid I would fall off the wagon. Luckily that wasn't even close to happening.
  • My biggest concern with alcohol is that I have sleep issues, and with a buzz on I can fall asleep without a problem. Without one, my mind won't stop racing. So on this break I'd typically stay up until 3AM instead of midnight, just waiting to fall asleep for the last three hours of the day. That was annoying.
  • I think I am going to institute a policy that a nightcap doesn't count as a drink.
  • You can totally get a hangover without booze. I think it's salt late at night that does it for me. I made a lot of soft pretzels (one of three things I can bake) and the next mornings my head would hurt. 
  • A lot of time I wanted festive drinks- not an alcohol substitute, but something a bit more nuanced and food-like than water. I drank gallons and gallons of soda water (thanks, sodaclub!).
  • Angostura Orange makes the best bitters-and-soda. I know because I tried them all.
  • Regular Angostura bitters and a splash of agave syrup makes a lovely hot water drink
  • Come to think of it, I was cold a lot. Weird.
  • I missed the refreshing aspects of drinking the most; the "ahhhh" of the first sip of a cold Martini. I missed beer just as much as hard alcohol for the same reason. That's a bit odd because I don't often drink beer at home.
  • I most crave drinks as little celebrations- the end of the workday, arriving home from an event, getting good news or a check in the mail. As these things happen all the time, I may try to replace a few of them with celebratory non-alcoholic drinks instead. It's not about the booze, it's about the celebration.
  • By the end of the break I wasn't sick of not drinking, I was sick of not having a drink when I wanted one.

So, now that the Dry Spell is over, what shall I have to celebrate?

*Update* I advanced blogged this so I already had my celebratory drink: The Saratoga Cocktail (Saratoga Cocktail recipe). I can't say that it tasted better than it usually does. Luckily, it usually tastes pretty darn delicious.

Get Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF.