Dry January Check-In

Circle Kombucha January 5, 2021

1/28/2021

Well here we are. The final days of Dry January. This is predictable, cheesy and all the cliché things, but I’m really proud of the work put in this month. And if you came along for the journey, I’m proud of you too. Taking a step back and evaluating any behavior is uncomfortable, and this 1000% proved to be true for me and my drinking habits.

I’ll be honest, we hosted Bachelor night again this week and I again enjoyed two alcoholic beverages (it happened to be the release week of the Old Fashioned-Styled Cider at Ash & Elm, a partnership with West Fork Whiskey). Like last week, I felt less than my best the next morning, and like last week, I have no intention of feeling that way again anytime soon… (that is, until next Bach night). But here’s the big difference I’ve enjoyed this month: I drank for celebratory purposes only. That means I didn’t drink to relax, to numb or to fight boredom. For the record, drinking on Bach night is a celebration of socializing with a small circle of friends in the midst of a very isolating year—it is not a celebration of who makes it through the rose ceremony, though sometimes we throw that in too 😉

When I started out with my Dry January goals, I didn’t have a plan for February and beyond. But I think limiting to celebratory drinking vs. otherwise is a good place to start for me. For one, it cuts the frequency quite a bit (I happen to be a naturally pessimistic/critical person soooo maybe it’ll turn me into a positivity seeker too?). Second, celebrations typically happen in the presence of others, so that means I won’t be drinking alone, staring at that last ⅓ bottle of red and contemplating if I should just take care of it. And last, enjoying alcohol out of celebration implies that I won’t be drinking to forget, to lessen pain or as a crutch for stress management. Surely I will find my own weird loopholes in this strategy moving forward, but I like this general thoughtfulness of the reason behind consuming.

This first go-round of Dry January was highly imperfect (for me), but I reaped phenomenal benefits regardless. I am so much more aware of my body’s best right now. It’s no longer the difference of hangover vs. not, surprisingly I have a large grey area between the two and I’m decently sensitive to that currently. And like many, I unfortunately have a history with disordered eating. Turns out alcohol triggers some of those old dark thoughts and behaviors. But my month was pleasantly filled with a lot of healthy decision making, which I presume to be due to a sober mind. And like they say in every productivity or self-help book, one good/healthy decision tends to lead to another. I really did find that I’d grab a kombucha instead of a night cap, and then I’d refrain from the late night snacking that likely would’ve paired with the whiskey. It’s not an infallible equation but it’s a general rhythm for me. Overall, I can confidently say that I simply liked the way I felt this month. And when I did have a celebratory evening ahead, I really looked forward to and enjoyed the heck out of the drink. 

For those of you continuing a dry lifestyle into February and beyond, we’re cheering you on. You have all of Circle’s respect, support, and perhaps most importantly…all our best mocktail recipes. We wouldn’t send you on your way without one more, so here’s the Sparkling Spritz, crafted by our pals at Indy Urban Foodies. It’s protein-packed and gives off those cozy wintery vibes with our Vanilla Pear Circle Sparkling Protein.

For those of you reintegrating alcohol into your life, we’re cheering you on. You challenged yourself this month, and you’re stronger, better, faster (?) for it. And no doubt, it’ll help fuel a balanced, feel-good lifestyle in your year ahead. We kinda live for that at Circle.

Mocktail or cocktail, raise them high, friends. In the tone of Elle Woods—WE DID IT!

1/21/2021

I broke my streak this week guys. I’m putting it out there right away because… well, what else are we doing here?

The drink of choice was a cab sauv and it was all the things I wanted it to be. (At least while consuming.) I know I don’t need to justify a dang thing here, but I do want to share that it was a celebratory night and a reunification with some friends who’ve come out of quarantine. I really wanted to enjoy it fully, and for me that looked like a good dry red. I slurped down two glasses with my Aldi charcuterie board and kicked off another season of The Bachelor with a few pals. It was glorious and I was very happy. Also if you’re judging me because of my trash tv……………………valid. 

Then I woke up this morning. I had the worst sleep I’ve had all year and my stomach felt like a rock. Not like “rock” hard abs, more like “did I eat literal rocks at 11?”  I’ve felt like poop most of the day, which is interesting knowing this isn’t even a hangover. I suppose I’m just sensitive to the difference between my best and anything less right now. #adulting

This is typically where I might throw in the towel and feel like I’ve ruined it, why even continue to the full month? But GUYS. I’m not going there. I’m choosing to not be my Type A legalistic self. It’s freaking hard. Today I’m choosing not to drink alcohol because I genuinely don’t want to feel this way tomorrow. And I know I won’t have these top-of-mind motivations every day for the rest of the month, but it’s sincere for this day. So. I’m taking a moment to remember why I embarked on Dry January in the first place, hopeful to keep the motivation in my back pocket as the month rounds off:

I’m tired of the mental space that moderating alcohol requires of me.

And that’s really it. I’m sure relieving myself of this burden has helped facilitate all that awesome sleep, too. And because I’m consuming less sugar and calories from alcohol, I find I’m not as obsessive about my eating, either. Sobriety is both a psychological and biological benefit (for me).

But how are you doing? Have you had a drink this Dry January? If nobody’s told you yet, that’s okay. I bet you’ve consumed less alcohol this month than you would’ve without the challenge—and that’s progress, which we can all agree beats out its fictional counterpart perfection. 

Buuuuuuut like if we’re going to call something perfection, this mocktail from our friends at Mer & Meg’s Escapades (@mmsescapades) is IT. It’s a blackberry mojito featuring our Lemon Mint Circle Sparkling Protein, which happens to be a staff favorite of the four flavors. It’s refreshing, it’s light and it’s going to send you into the weekend feeling really, really good. Cheers to (y)our progress.

1/14/2021

Heyo, still Jenny from Circle here. This week my coworker started calling this challenge “Dry Jen-uary,” which accurately describes how it feels these days—just me. Not drinking. Alone. It’s completely NOT true (hey, you’re here right?) but tbh I’m a little dramatic and I downight miss alcohol. I miss the taste for sure, but I’m embarrassed to say that I also miss the buzz. My personality type errs on the perfectionistic side (enneagram 1) and I find that a little drink is helpful in releasing my obsessions and critical thinking. This week I’ve been trying to tap into some more internal work, as I also believe that a 0% ABV antidote to the inner critic is practicing gratitude. In my own experience, when I focus on the gifts in my life, it leaves little space for obsessive nit-picking. All that to say, I’m human, and I also wanted something freaking tasty so I made brownies this morning. But it did leave me wondering if my body is craving the sugar that I’d typically consume from alcohol. So, as anybody does in 2021, I googled it…and I think that’s exactly what’s happening: 

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/sugar-cravings-after-quitting-alcohol

https://www.businessinsider.com/why-cutting-alcohol-makes-you-crave-sugary-food-2018-2

As they say, knowledge is power, and I have to say that I feel empowered by just acknowledging this could be going on inside me. I really have no desire to give up alcohol or sugar long term, but I also have no desire to be addicted to anything, either. Having kombucha on hand has been really good for that 2-3pm sugar-craving/nappy feeling. And it actually kept me from a second brownie today (totally saving that for after dinner). 

For all my Dry January comrades out there, did you take measures to remove the alcohol from your home? I didn’t do that. And currently there’s a bottle of prosecco in the fridge that’s taunting me. I wanted to keep it available for my husband, who’s not participating in Dry January, but he’s generally not drinking much/at all without me. Which leads me to my next question, are you doing this with a significant other, roommate…or just with me? 

As is the weekly tradition, I’m leaving you with a mocktail that was lovingly created by our generous friends at Indy Urban Foodies. I love a good Bloody Mary, mostly because it’s a snack and drink in one (brilliant), but I also love a savory sip. This one has a nice tartness and subtle sweetness from the Mango Turmeric Circle Kombucha. Cheers to you, your balance, and feeling good. 

1/7/2021

Okay, so, 2021. What. In. The. Literal…?

Basically right about now is when I’d prefer to pour a little bourbon over ice and indulge in a good old fashioned doom scroll. I’m not. I’m drinking kombucha and hot chocolate (not mixed together, woof)…and still scrolling. ⅔ isn’t the worst. 

There’ve been a lot of moments throughout 2020 that I just kinda felt like numbing out. The events of January 6 being no different. But by not making that an option for myself this Dry January, I did appreciate the clarity and patience I was able to practice as the day transpired. Still a terribly sad day, and I actually felt all of it.

Now a full week into Dry January, I can absolutely say that I do feel a marked physical difference. Most of all, sleep is vastly improved. I’m talking the good, solid REM, don’t-wake-up-to-pee kind of slumber. I’ve been experiencing consecutive nights of A+ sleep this week, which isn’t my MO while casually drinking. Which, btw, was about 1-2 servings, 4-5 days a week for me. During the work week that typically meant red wine with dinner, and maybe a second glass with some dark chocolate on the couch. But on Wednesdays it definitely meant a couple $3 old fashioneds at Jailbird. Weekends, we’d probably grab a growler and other supplies to have a game night at home. I share that not as comparison but just for transparency. That’s my normal. And to maintain that, I practice hella self control to not go beyond that second drink…though between you and me it doesn’t take a lot to talk me into the third. But that, my friends, is my hangover territory and 30 has not been kind for recovering from those.

To be clear, I have nothing against casual drinking. I really respect people who moderate well, and when I become a parent I think it’s one of the greatest gifts you can teach your children: moderation in all things. Heck, that’s Circle’s mission, helping people find balance and feel good. When I developed a taste for alcohol in my 20s I didn’t realize it would require ongoing moderation. That it’s not a one-time thing you establish and move on from. Alcohol is a constant, keep-it-in-check, maybe-take-a-break-from substance that can be really exhausting. So that’s why I’m partaking in Dry January. Frankly, I’m worn out by the mental space that moderation requires of me. It feels like there are so many new plates to keep spinning, and figuring out alcohol was not one worth it at this time.

TBH I don’t have a plan for my alcohol consumption moving forward. I’m just trying this Dry January out one wine-less meal at a time, and then reevaluating at the end of the month. As promised, we’ve got a fresh mocktail (thanks Indy Urban Foodies!) to share with you this week as you continue your Dry January endeavors. This one features our newest beverage line, Circle Sparkling Protein, which rocks 20g collagen, low sugar and a delightful fizz. I hope you love it and I hope it makes you feel SO good. 

Clinks to finding balance. Happy New Year

12/23/2020

Jenny from Circle, here. Hi. 

It’s Christmas Eve eve and for the next 72 hours my husband and I, like you, will be piecing together a really weird holiday line up. Under normal non-COVID circumstances, booze would be flowing like honey throughout the holidays, at least with my ginormous (Catholic) family. In COVID reality, it may be doubly so. 

To be candid, alcohol has been a tricky thing for me all of quarantine. My husband and I relocated to Indianapolis just months before the March 2019 shutdown, making an already new city feel especially lonely and isolated. We’ve also been living with family— which if that doesn’t turn you into a quasi-alcoholic, what will? Then throw in the atomic bomb that is 2020 and I think it’s safe to say that a lot of us are self medicating right now. And I’m ready to not. Be it the inspiration of a New Year (HALLE-FREAKING-LUJA), January seems as good a time as any to make some intentional changes with alcohol. So that said, Dry January, I’m coming for ya. 

You should know, I’m not naturally good at moderation. I’m an all or nothing girl and have learned moderation the hard way in a lot of categories. When I started working at Circle last fall I think I was drinking 4-5 kombuchas a day (um, I work four hour shifts). If you heard the rumors, yes it’s true that I have the healthiest gut on all of East Washington. But even good, healthy things I take way out of proportion, and it’s been a part of me my entire life. Genetics, so fun amirite?

For all of January, I’ll be here documenting my first-ever go round with an intentionally sober month. I don’t have any tricks or tips to share, just human empathy. I do happen to work at a better-for-you-beverage company that has the most bomb mocktail recipes, so I will be sharing those each week too. 

Like any New Year resolution, the next week is weird. Now I’ve made my January intentions (published blog) clear, but until then… ? WEIRD. Good news is none of us are unfamiliar with weird anymore. And with that, I’ll talk to you in 2021.

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