Dry January is great. Encouraging people to take a month away from the booze to test out a different way of life has to be a good thing. But does it really work if people are just desperately counting down the days to 1st Feb!
I have done Dry Jan for a few years now, and I loved it, but I was one of those people that when 1st Feb rolled around, I was digging out the Sauvignon Blanc and encouraging my friends to get back on it with me. I had a sense of achievement and accomplishment (and quite rightly so) but I didn’t think “wow this could be a beginning of something” until this year.
Dry Jan 2023 and my perspective has completely changed allowing me to see it in a new light which is interesting to say the least. So here are some of my thoughts …
The first thing I noticed was the amount of people that were doing Dry Jan but insisted they were “making up for it in Feb”. It was like “making up for it in Feb” made it more socially acceptable to not drink in Jan. But is this really the point in Dry Jan? To have a month off alcohol due to, what I can only describe as, a perceived social peer pressure only to ignore all the benefits you will have experienced as soon as Feb 1st arrives. Is it better to drink consistently in moderation or to stop for a whole month only to get plastered in Feb? I am sure there is lots of science and papers on this but, in lieu of that, from a personal perspective, I remember the Feb hangovers being the worst.
The second thing I noticed is people didn’t want to do stuff as “they weren’t drinking”. Now January is a long month until payday, and I get that, and understand people not being able to do things in Jan for this reason but I noticed this wasn’t the reason people focused on – no it was all about the not drinking. No wonder everyone is desperate for Dry Jan to be over if you are cutting yourself off from the world and not even trying to go out and have fun sober. I wouldn’t like being alcohol free either if that’s what it meant!
For me, I would love to see people embracing Dry Jan (or dry Feb or whenever you start your Dryy adventure) as it should be embraced – still live your life, meet friends and make plans - just try it without the booze. Maybe if you find friends aren’t as fun, conversations are a bit more awkward then possibly you need to look at these “alcohol relationships” and decide if they serve you. Throughout my AF journey, I have really focused on who I enjoy being around – no longer is it about who is going out where instead it is who I want to spend my time with, who I can catch up with for hours and it only feels like minutes, who I can not see for ages and instantly pick up where we left off. Being alcohol free, has allowed me to identify these nourishing connections and cherish them. Hopefully through your Dry Jan journey you managed to experience this too.
Let me know what your experience of Dry Jan was like? Will you do it again next year? Will you do it again next month?