There are a couple November-themed calls to action out there, most notably No-Shave November and Movember (please stop participating in this one, Aaron Rodgers. It makes you look like you should be driving an unmarked cargo van with tinted windows). But my husband and I have been participating in our own version for years.
No-Booze November. We have been perfecting the craft of not drinking during November for several years. It began as a fast; our church at the time was going through a particular “lesson” plan that involved fasting from something for a month. We both drink quite a bit (by far the most popular gifts we received when we got married were booze-themed) and decided that was what we were going to give up.
With some exceptions. At first it was “no drinking at home.” We could have a drink if we went out with friends. We had just started to make friends in our new home and didn’t want to make people feel awkward hanging out with us because we weren’t drinking. Then it was “no drinking ever, except Thanksgiving.” Who can last an entire holiday without drinking?! Then, I think we skipped the November thing altogether and did it in March or April—whenever Easter was—but we always get together with some friends of ours around Easter for a party, so we made an exception for that. I think there was another year in there somewhere too, and there was an exception, but I can’t remember what it was.
Anyway, this year, no exceptions. No alcohol anywhere, at any time, for any reason from November 1 to 11:59pm on November 30. By now all our friends know we do this and are comfortable with it, so there’s really no peer pressure, and we are just going to suck it up and deal with the holiday booze-free.
Why do we do this? Well, like I said, it started with a church-inspired fast. Now it’s more like a re-set for our bodies. Alcohol is not friendly, friends. It’s mean to your body, especially when you’re not younger than I am anymore. Plus, apparently, it takes 21 days to form a habit (I heard that somewhere and have no idea if it has any scientific basis whatsoever). Every year about this time we find ourselves in the habit of having several drinks every day. So we go a month sans beer, wine and spirits to reform a habit, not just of drinking less alcohol, but of drinking more of other things, like water. Much healthier.
Also, dare I say it, we do let ourselves become slightly addicted. Every start to No-Booze November is actually hard. When you’re used to coming home and having a drink or two to relax after a stressful day, or having a couple before meeting up with a group of people so you feel more comfortable (introverts like me know what I’m talking about), it’s really difficult to just not do that anymore. And a pint of hard cider is not the same as a glass of lemonade. It just isn’t. So simply replacing the beverage doesn’t really make it any easier. And this is the biggest reason why we do No-Booze November every year. It’s a recognition that we are human beings that have the potential to become addicted to a substance that really is quite unhealthy for us. It’s a preventative measure as much as it is a re-set for our bodies and our minds, and is meant to replace a bad habit with a healthy one.
The trick then becomes keeping that healthy habit and not flinging ourselves into Drunken December.