Vernon Retiree Takes “Dry January” Month Off from Alcohol

Source: West Milford Messenger

Retired school counselor Kerri Yezuit knows how to keep a New Year’s resolution. She quit smoking cold turkey on Jan. 1, 2015, and never looked back. The Vernon resident first heard about Dry January in 2020: like many others, her alcohol consumption increased with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. Zoom happy hours were the norm, and her typical glass of wine with dinner crept up to two or three.

Yezuit tried a Dry January in 2021. “January 6th happened and I fell off the wagon, as the old saying goes,” said Yezuit. “When that event occurred in our Congress, I was like, ‘Uh, forget about it.’” But aside from that, Yezuit finished the month alcohol free. And she’s back at it again this year:

Just 19 days into 2022, Yezuit reported that she was sleeping better, was more productive throughout the day, and was feeling more creative.

For many, Dry January is a chance to reset or cut back after a marathon of holiday-induced indulgence.

Yezuit also uses the month to “doing an evaluation of what my relationship is with alcohol,” she says. “Is it a bad habit? Is it something I use to reward myself? Is it something I use to suppress uncomfortable feelings?” With a laugh, she adds, “I’d say yes to all of that!”

To make it through the month successfully, Yezuit finds other things to focus on. Yezuit connects with family and her pets in the evening. She admits to avoid social events, but that’s is fairly easy, between the cold weather and the pandemic.

Dr. Bob DeYoung of The Family Center for Behavioral Health in Milford PA, recommends picking up an interesting hobby to replace the habit. “Don’t drink – then what?” he said. “All right, let’s exercise. Or, let me replace this with fill-in-the-blank, whatever it is: I’m going to learn a new language; I’m going to eat better.”

“Some people are pleasantly surprised and say, ‘Wow, it’s been a whole month now — I haven’t drank alcohol; I’m starting to hablo español!’ Or ‘I started working out, and I like this – this feels better.’”

Yezuit plans to move into February, and the rest of the year, with a more mindful approach toward drinking: consuming less, less habitually.

“I don’t see any harm in doing the Dry January thing,” says Dr. DeYoung. ” It’s almost like hitting a magic reset button.”


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