Ah, Dry January: We've reached that time of year when everyone decides to put the booze away for four weeks.
They retreat into their homes, avoid all social engagements that involve drinking and emerge in February to blog about how much they learned from Dry January.
Well, as someone who's sober all year long (and has a great time), I'm determined to make sure your Dry January efforts are something you can really and truly learn from -- and you don't even have to give up your solitude on the couch.
Here are some activities that can be even more fun and exciting to do while sober. They might increase your ability to live life without alcohol as a crutch or, at the very least, serve as a fun challenge.
The number one thing I hear people say they cannot do while sober is dance.
Yes, you will feel awkward, you will wonder what you're doing and feel like you're back in middle school, but think of it this way: When were you as unsure of what would happen next than when you were a teenager? Isn't that kind of exciting?
In order to get over your fear of dancing while sober, all you have to do is move your body around until you stop hating being inside of it.
After a while, you'll stop caring... and once you stop caring, you will literally feel like a one-person jukebox-fun-machine, making love to the music and giving birth to your new self.
I won't necessarily say a sober dinner is more exciting than one with drinks flowing, but there's something about dining sans-alcohol that deepens the level of conversation. Also, on the plus side, not having alcohol around increases a mutual willingness to listen to each other.
Even if your friends aren't participating in Dry January, get together with them for dinner and listen to what they have to say. You can get to know more about one another when you're not under the influence and are actually waiting for your turn to speak.
Also, seeing (without judging) the effect that alcohol can have on your friends' listening skills could shed quite a bit of light on your own behavior.
Dates (especially first dates) can be absolutely terrifying when you're sober. Sure, they're scary, but they're also incredibly worthwhile if you're willing to ride the wave of your discomfort.
It might feel as though there's no reason in the world to torture yourself by going on a first date without alcohol, but there's nothing more captivating than an authentic willingness to be yourself.
If you're open with the guy/gal about what it is you're trying to do and how you're feeling about it, they will undoubtedly have more questions.
You could come out of the whole thing feeling like you made a 100 percent authentic connection to someone else, all on your own. Imagine that.
I know there's something to be said for some throw-down sloppy sex at the end of a night out drinking. I know it can be great to just do the deed and get outta there like a bandit.
But, in terms of an actual intimate sexual connection with someone else, it is 100 percent better to be sober than it is to be drunk. Sex is about revealing yourself to someone else, communicating what you want and need -- and all of that is effortless when you're not slurring your words.
Not to mention, when you're not drinking, you're more present in every moment; you feel everything, see everything and process everything as it happens.
While concerts are known for being the perfect place to get hammered, they're way better when you aren't experiencing them from the beer line or worrying about smuggling whatever you can into the venue.
As much as tailgating before a concert can be fun, it's literally the biggest waste of what could otherwise be a productive day spent resting on the couch at your own house.
Also, when you're sober at a concert, you could actually make a connection to people whom love the music you love, without forgetting them for the rest of your life. You might even have the fortitude to claw your way up to that front row to touch one of your heroes.
Sober January shouldn't be about avoiding alcohol and hiding from any events that might include its consumption. It should be about living your life to the fullest extent possible, without using alcohol to enjoy it.
It's about putting yourself in scenarios where you would ordinarily lean on alcohol, and making the choice not to.
It's also about spending some quality time on the couch.
This way, you'll enter February having learned something worth blogging about.