Dry January – Who? What? Where? And Most Importantly Why & How?
By Vanessa Charlot
While taking a month off of drinking is by no means a new or particularly innovative concept, Dry January is certainly a thing.
Meet Emily Robinson, a woman with a goal – running her first half marathon. In 2011, Emily decided to ditch drinking for January to boost her training. Little did she know that her sober January would spark a larger movement. The following year, Robinson teamed up with Alcohol Change UK, turning her personal challenge into a nationwide campaign that would end up having international reach. Thanks to her initiative, Dry January officially kicked off in 2013.
Dry January is a month-long commitment to sobriety, challenging people to reevaluate their relationship with alcohol. Although it may sound like it, this is not just a passing trend.. It’s a movement with a considerable following. In 2023 alone, 175,000 people registered on Alcohol Change UK’s website to participate. This abstention is not just a British thing; it has crossed the pond and beyond with well over 260 million Americans, joining the dry spell.
Where is Dry January?
So, where does one partake in the festivities of Dry January? Well, it’s not a party in the traditional sense. The venue is your home sweet home. But hold on to your non-alcoholic drinks because the party doesn’t end there. It’s a party that can take place anywhere. Your determination becomes the VIP pass.
But if you’re a person who needs to avoid the temptation of bars and restaurants, there are plenty of other spaces to revel in sober glory. Hiking trails, roller skating rinks, bowling alleys, game nights, movie theaters, museums, and art galleries to name a few.
When is Dry January?
January, of course! A New Year’s resolution that can possibly set the tone for the months to come.
Why Dry January?
The reasons for choosing to participate in Dry January just are as diverse as the participants.
Some see it as a necessary detox of post-December’s indulgence, like hitting the reset button on your body after eating and drinking everything in sight for the last month. For others, it’s a journey toward health and fitness, a break from the liquid calories and a leap into a more energized and hydrated version of themselves.
Saving money becomes a delightful side effect – no more pondering over whether that aged Burgundy is worth the splurge. Your wallet breathes a sigh of relief as you sip on your non-alcoholic concoction, realizing that financial resolutions are almost as refreshing as your beverage of choice.
And mental clarity? That seems to be a hidden gem of Dry January. It’s not just about the absence of alcohol; it’s about gaining a sharper focus. It’s a mindfulness journey, a moment to pause and reassess habits, and to set intentions for the year ahead while maintaining a clear mind amidst the chaos of life
Ultimately, Dry January is not just a challenge; it’s a testament to resilience and a celebration of the fact that a month without alcohol is not just doable but possibly empowering. It’s about proving to yourself that you can navigate social situations, dance without the aid of liquid courage, and wake up each day with a sense of accomplishment.
Now the practical part – how do you navigate Dry January? Swap your favorite wine for non-alcoholic alternatives. Dive into the world of non-alcoholic wine and spirits or indulge in the ever-improving mocktail scene. Focus on alternative activities like hiking, exploring hobbies, or spending quality time with friends minus the cocktails. It’s a transformative journey that doesn’t mean bidding farewell to enjoyment.
The Choice is Yours
Dry January, and in fact the relationship each person has with alcohol, is a deeply personal choice. For some, Dry January is a great challenge, for others it may be necessary, and if someone chooses their glass of Barolo over Dry January, that is perfectly acceptable as well.
That’s all to say that taking a break from alcohol doesn’t have to be a dreary affair. Wine and spirits undoubtedly add flavor to life, but so does the refreshing taste of a well-crafted mocktail. Dry January isn’t just a month of abstinence; it’s a celebration of clarity, commitment, and the ability to say ‘cheers’ without raising a glass. So, no wine, no problem – just a different, equally delightful, kind of intoxication.
The world is your oyster. Or in this case, the alcohol-free, non-shucked, non-shaken oyster.