The end of any year is always the worst for drinking, as there’s the Thanksgiving to New year’s window that is full of holidays, events, parties, specialty items, and a slew of other reasons to eat and drink way too much. The end of 2012 was no exception, as I ate and drank my way through the last six weeks pretty heartily.

That’s why two friends of mine and I decided we’d try something drastic to kick off 2013. We called it “No Booze January”.  The title alone is pretty self-explanatory, really, but now that we’ve completed it I figured it’d be fun to write about what I learned during my dry month.

The last sip of alcohol I had in January was early in the morning on January 1st, due to New Year’s Eve festivities. The next morning was a bit difficult because everyone was making breakfast and enjoying mimosas and/or bloody marys while I had my coffee. Those of you who have nursed hangovers before know exactly what I mean by that. Even if I hadn’t made the deal with myself to not drink I wouldn’t have been able to anyway, as I had a long drive back to Los Angeles to make that day.

As with any challenge, the first few days are always the toughest. I was not an everyday drinker to begin with but it was rare that three days went by without at least having a beer or two.  It was refreshing waking up a bit clearer than usual but my sleep was a bit fitful. I was also staying up later than usual, as my energy levels were up and I wasn’t having any nightcaps. My dreams got weird too, and a hell of a lot more vivid.

I really noticed a difference around the sixth day. It was my first night out and I went to a friend’s house to visit for a bit. Another friend joined us and we made dinner. We had a pretty healthy meal, followed by a lot of talking, and then we decided to watch a movie…but not before making some brownies and having ice cream with them. As I sat there with my two pals, both of them curled up in blankets eating ice cream and watching a movie, I realized what No Booze January had done to us. It had turned us into women.

The month wore on and my sleep got better. My dreams, however, just kept getting stranger. To be fair, I had a lot on my mind and maybe having a clear mind was allowing my brain to vomit for a change.  It was some crazy stuff. I cannot remember all of it, but I can assure you what I do remember is really weird.

I did have two cheat days during the month. One came around the 20th. One of the guys I had made the pact with had included an “out” clause for a trip he had booked to Mexico. When he returned I had a few beers with him. The second cheat day was two days before the end of the month, as I went out with a friend of mine for some tacos and a few beers. Yes, I cheated, but I didn’t drink excessively so I’ll call that a win.

All in all, No Booze January was a sobering experience (see what I did there?). I like the way it made me feel, despite the crazy ass dreams I was having. Super Bowl weekend was my triumphant return to booze but I didn’t hit nearly my old levels of intoxication.  My old friend Jack tastes a little different to me now, and my body craves the things it should. My new rule is to try to not drink at home, and nothing on the weeknights. If home drinking does occur, it has to be beer or wine.  So far so good, but it is only the 5th. Time will tell, but all in all I think taking a month off was a good idea.