There's nothing like the memories of a horrendous champagne hangover to encourage you to participate in "Dry January."
Abstaining from drinking is a lot harder than you would think, even if you have a healthy relationship with alcohol.
When you are in your 20s, almost all of your social activities revolve around booze.
During the week, you go to happy hours with your coworkers, get drinks with Tinder dates and drink wine and watch "The Bachelor" with your girls.
There is no escaping the allure of alcohol.
Not drinking for this first two weeks has made me question a lot of things about my life and my drinking habits.
Here are seven ways a month of sobriety will make you take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror:
1. How much is too much?
When I was in college, it was pretty normal for me and my friends to pregame before heading out to a bar or a house party.
Then once we were at our destination, we would all drink until people started to pass out or scamper back toward their respective apartments to drunkenly eat or make out with randos.
I never counted how many drinks I was consuming.
I would just drink until the party was over or until I (occasionally) blacked out.
Recently, I have been questioning how much is too much.
According to the CDC, if a woman consumes four or more drinks within two hours, it is considered binge drinking.
This is shocking.
At what point does everyone stop binge drinking?
Does everyone stop drinking excessively after we throw our caps up in the air?
2. Do I drink more than my friends?
Now that I am approaching my late 20s, I am slowly coming to the realization that I, in fact, do drink more than my friends and coworkers.
At first, I convinced myself they were drinking less because they were all in relationships.
People in relationships don’t have to go on drunken dates, chug enough vodka sodas to flirt with the opposite sex at bars or Netflix and chill with a bottle of wine when other people are out with their significant others on Valentine's Day.
I realize now these are just rationalizations I've been telling myself.
I have always been more of a drinker than my friends.
While they were cleaning up their acts, getting promoted and finding significant others, I was still getting sloppy at the bar on Saturday nights and making out with frat bros.
3. It’s okay as long as I’m not as bad as that person, right?
We all have that one friend who is a complete drunk mess, but is as lovable as puppy.
When your friend blacks out and does something crazy, everyone jokes about it and then criticizes your friend behind his or her back.
I've always compared my drinking habits to my drunk puppy friend’s habits.
I always tell myself, “Well, at least I am not as bad as him."
Now I see that he clearly has a problem, and instead of laughing at his antics, we should probably be encouraging him to become sober.
4. What does it mean to drink socially?
Once I started working with people who had graduated from their 20s, I realized having one or two drinks at happy hour is normal.
Having five or six is not so normal.
Nothing says “don't promote me” like getting sloppy at a work happy hour and spilling your whole life story to the IT guy.
5. How common is blacking out?
Blacking out used to be pretty normal for me in college.
I would usually black out three times a week.
In fact, my friends would expect me to black out and do things that were absurd, like sleep on the quad or put all of our plants in the microwave.
It was just me being my crazy self again.
I would dread dealing with the consequences of my blackout even before I opened my eyes the next day.
Where would I find myself when I opened my eyes?
Whom would I be next to?
What personal items did I lose?
What friends would I have to apologize to?
These shenanigans are no longer fun in your late 20s.
6. What would a Sunday be like without hating yourself?
The feeling of regret and guilt on a Sunday morning after drinking the entire weekend really does take a toll on your self-esteem, self-worth and confidence.
This feeling is also known as “hangxiety," “the Sunday sads” or as my friends like to call it, “the demons."
This feeling would sometimes last well into the week for me.
Then, of course, I would vow to get my drinking under control (until next weekend when my roommate was making margaritas).
7. Is drinking really adding anything positive to my life?
Even though it has only been a few days, Dry January has made me reflect on my drinking habits and face some things I have been avoiding.
Learning to be social without drinking will definitely be a challenge.
Who knows? Maybe I will never drink again.
To anyone else partaking in Dry January, know you are awesome.