A group of my friends have spent every January free from alcohol before it even had a name, or at least before everyone knew what Dry January is. Now I won’t shy away from the fact that I drink too much. I drink most days of the week and a lot of what I do socially involves beer. Whether this be a few beers before going to watch the football, an evening up the pub or just opening a bottle or two of beer in-front of the TV.
A friend suggested trying Dry January. And I did think about. I really did. I could drink soft drinks or find another substitute for alcohol, but I don’t want to. So I haven’t. In fact my first beer in January was in the evening of New Years Day. I have also read articles about Veganuary. I would never come close to entertaining this, but the principle is the same.
I am however making a conscious decision to cut back my alcohol intake. I am no longer going to drink at home except for Saturdays. I have drank at a slower pace both times I have been up the pub. It hasn’t needed any real effort and I haven’t really noticed a difference. I have swapped a beer for another drink at home this week. I suppose I am doing a Drier January and I see no reason why I would need to start drinking quicker or needlessly at home again when the calendar changes to February.
If I had tried Dry January, I suspect this blog post would be very different. I recall one occasion in the past where I wasn’t able to drink for a couple of weeks. It really sucked. It really did. I wasn’t on my knees but there were times when I really just wanted to have a beer, especially when my friends around me were all drinking. I drank an irresponsible amount of beer at the first opportunity I had. Dry January is voluntarily completely cutting out something we enjoy in the knowledge that we can drink two months’ worth of alcohol in February if we chose to do so. The same is true of Veganuary, although I suspect the change in lifestyle would be far more difficult.
So why is Dry January so heavily promoted? Why do we not promote more traditional and sustainable approaches of cutting back or making small adjustments, rather than complete abstinence? Maybe just drink at the weekends or cut the double gins back to a single gin? I will (hopefully) carry on my reduced alcohol intake into February without January feeling like a struggle and counting down the days until it ends.
Maybe I have a point, but maybe I’m just sulking because I don’t want to and won’t go an entire month without a drop of alcohol!