Six years ago I woke up with a bad headache attack. My mouth felt like sandpaper. So did my eyeballs. I was hungover.My family and I went to a lot of parties that holiday season — I’m not complaining — but around New Year’s Eve I was craving a reset.So I decided to give up drinking in January.Back then, I didn’t know Dry January was a thing. No one in my social circle or family had ever mentioned it. Giving up alcohol for the month was just something I wanted to try for myself. The holidays were over, the kids were going back to school and it was time to get back to the grind.The first five days with zero alcohol were OK. When I instinctively reached for a glass of wine while making dinner, I poured flavored water in the glass. It wasn’t the same, but not that big of a deal. And why wasn’t I always drinking water from a fancy wine glass? Then Saturday night rolled around. I went to a bar/restaurant to meet some friends. When I politely turned down a drink, the cheerful gathering felt more like an interrogation. “Are you pregnant?”“Are you sick?”“Are you pregnant … and sick?”I was shocked by the intensity of the reactions. People were legitimately concerned about me. I quickly realized that my reasoning — a reset after the holidays — wasn’t good enough for them. To everyone else it was simple: If I wasn’t drinking, there was something wrong with me. Did I have a drinking problem? What was really happening? And the funny part was that people were still buying me drinks the entire time — which, again, I politely declined — and took it personally that I wouldn’t drink them. I left the bar early thinking that this was going to be harder than I thought. Maybe everyone was right. If I don’t have a drinking problem and nothing’s wrong with me, why am I doing this? Then I remembered: I was doing this for me. I wasn’t doing it for anyone else. I set a goal and wanted to achieve it for myself. Melissa and her kids With my goal in focus, week two was easier than the first one. It felt good to wake up with a clear head and more energy. When Saturday rolled around I thought about just staying home and not socializing after all the accusations from the weekend before. Maybe I should avoid everyone for the entire month. But I had too much fear of missing out (FOMO). I live in Michigan surrounded by family and friends and there’s always something fun going on. So I went out, ordered soda water and started to learn how to socialize when everyone else was drinking. I still felt awkward at times and people still gave me a hard time. Some comments were more hurtful than others. That I wasn’t fun or no one wanted to be around me if I wasn’t drinking. I

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