Why We Love Dry January

Why We Love Dry January


Every year we do the same ... let our hair down and go crazy on the run up to and over the Christmas and New Year period and then punish ourselves by going cold turkey in January. And every New Year we have the same best intentions for a healthy, fit and revitalised body. Dry January ... oh how much we look forward to you ... NOT! We actually love dry January but this year's going to be harder than ever.

There's a popular belief that it takes 21 days to form a new habit. What science actually tell us is that it takes a little longer than that ... around 66 days is the general accepted number. 66 days is not that long though - around 2 months that's all! And when you look at your drinking habits on the run up to and over the Christmas period you can see that perhaps you're well on the way to forming a new habit of drinking too much, too often and maybe even every day. Now that's one habit we don't want to form!

That's why Dry January is such a welcome saviour to so many of us. We drink, and drink and drink up to New Years Eve then, on the stroke of midnight, a miraculous transformation occurs and we turn sober for 31 days ... well .... that's the plan!

In all seriousness though Dry January really does help - it breaks the bad routines we get into every year and, most importantly, it stops the new bad habits from fully embedding themselves into our everyday lives. We take back control and, because everyone around us seems to be doing the same, it's the one time of the year that we can all comfortably talk about our battle with booze (to a certain degree at least) and feel fully supported by all those around us.

For the majority who don't have any addictive tendencies towards alcohol, dry January is a bit of fun and a time to do things a little differently. A time to detox and to restore a usual, more healthy lifestyle. It represents the end of the festivities and the start of normality. But for those who may have concerns or recognise they have a bit of a drink problem it's an amazing opportunity - and this is why we love Dry January.

Dry January is a time when it's accepted to talk about sobriety. It's accepted and even encouraged to take up the challenge and to try and stay sober for a whole month. We can talk about it, laugh about it, plan around it - and not just with our closest friends but with family, with colleagues and even casual acquaintances too. It's accepted that we're all going to give it a go. We'll all support each other, we'll all talk about our successes (and our failures) we may even set incentives of buying something nice with (or donating) the money we save.

Because we're all doing it it's also a great opportunity to start new routines of doing things that don't involve drinking. Instead of going to the pub we go to the gym, instead of going to a couple of bars first we go straight to the restaurant, we go to the cinema or the theatre or a walk because we don't want to or need to involve alcohol in any way. We can do these things because of Dry January and we can talk about it and plan our social lives around alcohol temptation avoidance!

And if we can all do it in January why not keep it up for the rest of the year? Take the chance to start a new "dry" hobby with a friend. Get into a habit of doing things each week that don't involve booze. Stick to the new healthy routine throughout February too and you have a new habit!

And that's why we love Dry January - for those worried about their drinking habits it's a fantastic chance to start the new year by taking back control over booze with the full support of all those around us and without having to admit to anyone (accept ourselves) that we have a problem.

This year it's going to be even tougher though. With New Year falling on a Saturday it means that many of us won't be going back to work until the Tuesday so the temptation to remain in "festive mode" over the weekend is going to be strong. But so what if we don't start until we go back to work though - it doesn't really matter. Take it day by day and if you succumb to the demon drink one day then start again and decide to be sober the next day. Just don't miss out on all the sober support that you are surrounded with in Dry January.

Good luck and have fun without the hangover!