No alcohol for an entire month.

I realize this isn’t my greatest accomplishment, but it is what I achieved in January.

I participated in Dry January, a concept that has been around since 2012. I survived all 31 days plus the first of February without alcohol. I celebrated by opening a nice bottle of wine on Feb. 2.

Deschutes Black Butte is one of the few non-alcoholic dark beers. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

Wine. It’s what I missed last month.

I know there are non-alcoholic wines on the market, but they are not readily available in the stores I was shopping.

I did find a slew of non-alcoholic beers. I was trying them whenever I went out, which was more than usual last month because of my working vacation week in Tahoe. What surprised me the most is the greatest selection of NA—that’s how non-alcoholic drinks are referred to—beers was at the restaurant Barney’s in Paradise. The burger joint had five to choose from. I opted for the Lagunitas IPNA—even though it was February.

My favorite, though, was Deschutes Black Butte NA. I’m sure this has to do with my preference being dark beers. My friend, Darla, brought me a six to Tahoe for me. One day I hope to find a dark NA beer in Chico.

I chose to participate in Dry January for a variety of reasons. My friend, Joyce, had done so a year ago, which got me to seriously think about it. While I don’t drink a ton, I seem to drink every weekend. Could I even go 31 days? Then I wrote about all the options non-drinkers have for a story for the North Bay Business Journal which solidified my desire.

A variety of NA beer choices at Raley’s in Chico. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

I feel lighter. Not like I weigh less, because I didn’t lose weight through this journey. More like I’m not being weighed down. I feel a bit healthier. I admit this alcohol-free month also coincided with a few healthier eating choices.

I was a pretty healthy eater prior to January, so nothing drastic changed. For those who know me, yes, I’m still eating French fries.

Chico’s Sierra Nevada brewery in December released its first NA beer. (Image: Kathryn Reed)

What I might do going forward is add NA beer into my regular repertoire. I don’t drink a ton of beer. Mostly it’s in the summer, on a warm day or with certain foods. They gave me the flavor of beer—which is what I wanted. They are still empty calories, but fewer of them. I could also find them at breweries, so I felt like I as participating in the fun.

Wine, well, I need to try some NA ones to see if they could be added to my regular beverage selection. I’m also interested in trying the NA liquors I wrote about in that NBBJ story.

I don’t know if I will do Dry January again. Maybe. Seems like a good way to start the year. Then there’s always Sober October.

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