Friday, January 6th, 2012

A Drynuary Diary: Week One

Jolie Kerr: Bon L’(h)iver, John! I’ve actually been looking forward to this Drynuary! I know, I’m as surprised as you are! But it’s because, unlike last year, I don’t see this month as a desperate attempt to dry out… despite the fact that December basically looked like the picture above, taken by you, at a certain holiday party.

This go-round, my attitude is that this is an opportunity and that feels pretty cool and exciting. When we last chatted, I mentioned that 2011 had started out as a teenaged butthole of a year, and it sort of ended that way too. But! There were some awesome and important things that happened in the middle of the year, and one super strange experience in a labyrinth in Mexico where I’m pretty sure a higher power spoke to me via a wind chime and showed me how to navigate my life path and I’m going to stop now before you have me committed. The point is that I feel all aglow with the promise of the future, I think the month without booze will help me regain some of the clarity I found in that labyrinth. 2012 is going to be my year. And then the world’s going to end. And how are you feeling?

John Ore: Merry Drynuary! I’m happy to report that we’re on the same wavelength: I didn’t limp into this Drynuary, holding my liver in a doggie bag. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the holidays, and partook of the tradition of indulgence that I like to carry into, say, a random Thursday in April. I didn’t look at Drynuary as a reprieve, but more as a welcome ritual of self-improvement. Because everyone knows there’s nothing more important to a married father than his vanity. But before we get started, I need to clarify a few things for the uninitiated.

First of all, it's Drynuary or Bon L’(h)iver. People need to stop trying to make Janopause happen. What do the Brits know about moderation? They can go eat a bag of knives. And it happens in January, not July or February. Like the Rose Bowl always being on January 1st.

Second, it's a month long because it is ambitious. It’s not a week, or a couple of days, we’re not dabbling here. It's meaningful. It’s a challenge, but it’s also a gift. Show some respect. Hey, let’s take a gander at our Drynuary Vital Signs Chart!

Week One

Alcohol Consumed (units)
Jolie: 0
John: 0

Jolie: Forgetful (“Oh wait, I’m not drinking….”)
John: Wary

Irritability (scale of 0-10)
Jolie: 3
John: 2

Jolie: Bemused acceptance
John: Cautious optimism

Jolie: You don’t think the twitching muscle in my upper left arm is cause for alarm, do you?
John: Steady as a rock. But I shoot with THIS hand.

Smugness (scale of 0-10)
Jolie: 1, lest I fall
John: 1, too early to lord this over people… just… yet.

Sounder Sleeping
Jolie: Yes!
John: N/A, I have a 15-month-old.

Substitute Activities
Jolie: This week’s cleaning column bumped up on a 3500-word count.
John: Drinking tonic water with lime, swearing I can still taste the gin.

John: So, what did was your 25th Hour drink? Champagne for your real friends, real pain for your sham friends?

Jolie: I went down in a blaze of white wine, pills and crack brownies, just like the Good Lord intended. I was so mellow one of my friends told me he thought he was on sedatives. And unlike some people, Bon L’(h)iver started for me on the first. No hair of the dog, no hangover brunch, just coffee and toast and much sighing. But! I do have to confess that this year Drynuary ends on the 27th for me, because I have reservations at Luger’s and hell if I’m not going to have a martini with my steak.

Now then, I know because the internet tells me so, that you went out in much more fashionable form. Care to take us through your bloody mary bar?

John: Breaking Drynuary at Peter Luger’s? I’ll allow it! Since our Drynuary typically ends on my wife’s birthday on February 3rd, I’ve broken Drynuary at Peter Luger’s a little early as well. Because, sometimes a Saturday lunch reservation is the best you can do.

This also gives us free rein to BLOW IT OUT on New Year’s Day, which is way more fun than the Forced Death March of New Year’s Eve. Loads of chili. Bloody Marys are front-and-center, but the full coterie of cocktails is on offer. It’s open-house style (I’ll leave my address in the comments for next year, y’all!), so friends, family and neighbors wander in for a bowl of chili and a hangover remedy. It’s not a race to midnight, it’s a nice, long, slow burn, filled with sports.

(At this point I will pause, chalk this up to withdrawal irritability, and offer a giant “Fuck You” to Roger Goodell for filling my Last Day As A Free Man with meaningless NFL games, and forcing me to watch the Winter Classic sober the next day.)

I may or may not have consumed the following beverages in the two days leading up to Drynuary:

  • beer
  • red wine
  • Champagne
  • dry vermouth
  • sweet vermouth
  • rye whiskey
  • Irish whiskey
  • vodka
  • calvados

All in a bucket!

So, who have we recruited to join us in our Noble Quest this month? Any virgins we need to publicly sacrifice?

Jolie: I have virgin blood, I do! (OH GOD STOP LAUGHING.) I recruited two newbies, who we’ll call Jack and Jill because I’m basically just waiting to see which one falls down first and then how long it will take the other to go tumbling after.

John: Nursery rhymes are so appropriate for this. Or is that a sitcom? Let’s just say that my lone recruit folded like Kramer in “The Contest” yesterday.

So, who’s with us? "Tell us in the comments!"

Jolie Kerr isn’t sure what to do with all this ice now. John Ore still smells like a distillery.

52 Comments / Post A Comment

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I am doing Drynuary this year! It's mostly for financial reasons: I got a new job last year but haven't built up the cushion at the bottom of my checking account that I would like to have. I figure the amount that I spend on booze in a month ought to be exactly what I need.

Unfortunately this has been HELL WEEK at work, and the absence of my old friend bourbon is going to be sharply felt for the next couple of days.

Bittersweet (#765)

@DoctorDisaster: I'm in. Just had some serious surgery and between the antibiotic horse pills and Vicodin, and the memory of epic post-anesthesia heaving earlier this week, even the idea of booze makes me want to yuke.

Of course, this could change once I'm back at work and my Vicodin prescription runs out.

C_Webb (#855)

I've been waiting LIKE A MONTH for that picture! And yes, perfect use.

I want to do this. I wish I could do this. I hate myself for not knowing if I can do this.

@C_Webb I think that picture was one of the last things I remember from that night …

C_Webb (#855)

@MisterHippity: The last thing I remember is someone on the subway gently reminding me not to forget my shoes.

iantenna (#5,160)


#56 (#56)

I'm doing this in February.. It's shorter.

noilly (#3,193)

@#56 Leap Year!

#56 (#56)

@noilly Curses!

davidwatts (#72)

mostly i'm just upset i didn't go to that holiday party now. Ack!

Kai@twitter (#12,571)

I skipped a party on NYE and picked up a bottle of rum on the way home, only to have one drink and then deciding to do Drynuary. I've only had one or two cigarettes this year too (on the 1st) but that's mostly because I was sick. And then just to see how long this non-smoking thing could be kept up.
I'm usually more optimistic in January, but it could be the not drinking, the not smoking, the insanity at work, or some other stuff (mumble mumble). Anyway, I'm kind of a bitch this week, but that could be anything. It's probably the fact that I'm not sleeping because these nicotine withdrawal nightmares are INSANE. I've been carrying a pack around with me all week but I haven't broken yet. Ugh. I'll just have to smoke twice as much next month. (And I'm NOT giving up coffee, although it's been more tea than coffee so far this week.)

Right there with you. I was going to take the coward's way out and give up *buying* alcohol for January, allowing me to sip freely of December's leftover booze, not to mention sundry drinks cadged off friends, family and product launches. But I sealed up all my loopholes after a debauched New Year's Eve. The main positive: I have a lot more space in my refrigerator. My substitute when out with friends: ginger ale, or seltzer water.

boysplz (#9,812)

In a twist on Drynuary I've given up my healthy marijuana habit this month in hopes of being upgraded from contractor to full time at my work and maybe completing the half finished pile of crafts I've accumulated through the years. I managed to build the floating bookshelf I've thought about for 8 months and can remember how trippy me dreams are again. I seem to dream a lot about Deadwood, my personal favorite was when I was grilling chicken on top of a fake volcano Swearengen's two errand boys were rubbing all over each other and commenting on how smooth and muscular they were. I think it's gonna be a hell of a month.

C_Webb (#855)

@boysplz Dreams aside, do you have any idea how trippy your comments are?

Kai@twitter (#12,571)

@boysplz I can't find a reasonable, um, supplier, so I guess I'm having a dry January (and mayber 2012) in the same way. It hasn't helped with the crafting yet, but I did get a pile of Daria on DVD this week, and two days later, a sewing machine. I can combine those, right?
My trippy dreams are a result of not smoking cigarettes, but I suppose the other not smoking might be contributing too. You've given me a lot to think about.

percolator (#1,721)

Ahem, the Rose Bowl was on January 2nd this year.


John Ore (#7,170)

@percolator Oh, I know.

percolator (#1,721)

@John Ore Yeah when I got to the part about the Winter Classic I had an "Oh, I see what you're doing here" moment.

jolie (#16)

I just noticed my glass of wine with ice off in the lower right side of that photo and am going to go die of laughter now. Carry on!

John Ore (#7,170)

@jolie I may be prouder of that photo that some I've taken of my child.

@John Ore I'm just proud i was there when it was taken.

I remember saying "That's a really good picture!" And I was right! I'm an art critic!!

@John Ore
Times Square (close enough). It'siconic

I know no one asked, but I have to do SOMETHING WITH MY TIME NOW.

Alcohol Consumed (units)



Dear god, it’s only been 6 days.

Irritability (scale of 0-10)



I think I can do this.


Typing this sentence took 20 minutes…so…things aren’t great.

Smugness (scale of 0-10)

3. Will go up as soon as I interact with people who are drinking.

Sounder Sleeping

Big time.

Substitute Activities
Hours of Exercise: 4
Words Blogged: 5,000

jfruh (#713)

I just did some calendar-math and figured out that I've been doing Drynuary so far this year totally accidentally. Shit, must go find liquor immediately.

oudemia (#177)

@jfruh Oh golly, me too. There are like 4 bottles (one's a litre!) of white wine in my fridge and I may need to make it 3 right now.

iantenna (#5,160)

regarding that photo: so much for my impression of nyc awlies (awlers?) as a cultured and refined bunch.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@iantenna I seem to remember you as a fellow Oaklander (Oaklandite?). If true, I'm sure we still have a leg up in the trashiness department.

iantenna (#5,160)

@whizz_dumb dude. i haven't even showered or shaved in 2012. takes away too much perfectly good drinking time.

iantenna (#5,160)

@John Ore LOL, i'm sure all of those places are delicious but i would rather contine to get my ethnic street food from people of the appropriate ethnicity on, you know, the street. preferably one where i feel a slight tinge of concern for my own well-being.

chouette (#2,277)

I started three days early thanks to a gnarly case of the voms.

Alcohol consumed
0/ cold medicine?

still sick alternately cranky/ fever euphoric


none/ tempered by cold medicine?

Smugness scale

Sounder sleeping
nope. Just read Habibi and dream only of Bismillah

Substitute activities
sparkling cucumber water, like a Pimms Cup, but not really
teach dog new tricks

flatfootafleet (#5,753)

went to the store last night and decided I was going to make honey margaritas tonight. I don't drink tequila…ever (well since college). So no.

cherrispryte (#444)

I am trying something called "guilt-free 2012" so if I want to drink, I'm damn well going to.

That said, I've had two glasses of wine so far this month and that's it. So who knows.

Spencer Lund (#2,331)

When you order a seltzer at the Luger's bar, a record skips and conversation stops. For the bartender, it's akin to ordering your steak medium well.

Neopythia (#353)

I'm too old to stop drinking.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@Neopythia Booze and I used to be hot and heavy. Then we got married.

sajrocks (#2,067)

Totally teetotaling with ya Jolie & John! So far feeling only elation and I think what they call clarity (confusion? dysphoria? delirium tremens?). But the pendulum swings (as in "The Pit and" or the clock from THE EXORCIST). I have a Lambda Legal mixer at a gay sports bar tonight. Fingers crossed, seltzer and lime at the ready. Bon L’(h)iver!

SeanP (#4,058)

Tonic water and lime in January? Shouldn't you be drinking bourb… uhhh, cola?

I have been drying out in January for the past 10 years on account of how festive my Decembers go. My friends all hate me for it, but welcome me back with open arms Feb 1. True friends only like me with bendy elbows.

parallel-lines (#13,150)

Did the wind chime sound like Johnny Cash?

hman (#53)


bangs (#19,284)

Much needed after an all inclusive christmas. I'm only taking it to the 20th because of a (free booze!) conference. But does cooking with wine count? I feel like it's a slippery slope.

Flaneur (#998)

Totally forgot about the concept. Maybe I'll do it next year, though January is the heart of paddle tennis season, and beer while playing is integral.

Did the Oprah cleanse for three weeks once, I believe in June. No alcohol, sugar, gluten, caffeine or animal products. Established a new lower baseline weight for me, but boy, was it annoying.

landtunnel (#202,202)

I'm doing this, as well as a whole paleo cleanse. Yes, I know, I am an asshole. Best part? I accepted a new job the other day and my current coworkers are SO EXCITED to take me out for a drink. But I don't want to drink. Guess I'll have to drink.

bloodorange (#64,060)

omg Jolie were you at THE RANCH???

jolie (#16)

@bloodorange LADY. I was totally at The Ranch!

kamakiri (#202,641)

Oof . . . how do I get in??? On . . . 40 solid years of solid drinking (my only effort was 8 months off!) and my Dr. Doom is a-waiting with his sickle for that slice of my liver, which by the time he gets it is going to most DEFINITELY be foie gras.

This (band) wagon sounds like a good one . . . please point me to the correct gate agent so I can get my boarding pass . . .

hwarren (#202,978)

I very rarely drink, go months without but find sometimes just letting go for a night helps to relax

debrakettleton (#203,020)

Me too…the best to be drunk

kamakiri (#202,641)

Very good, people, very good. It's inspired me to contact three other people I know who all live in different parts of the US that I know to be sick of alcohol's hold over them (we're all in our 50s) and we're going to try our "Dryuary." We'll all be ramping down from now on and I'm going to make a locked blog so we can also keep diaries!

I'll be following you, for one!

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