Michael 84

Dry January Is A Pointless Waste Of Time

Wednesday, 10th January, 2018

Picture from when I was in York a while ago

We’ve now left the first weekend of January behind, did you drink alcohol, or are you participating in Dry January?

A new year means a couple of things; We’re recovering from over indulging in food and drink from Christmas and New Year, so are feeling guilty about it. It’s also a time where people use the expressions such as “New Year, New Me”, or “2018 is going to be my year”, which is usually followed up by a gym membership, diet and the fad which has been going for several years now, Dry January.

But I’ve always thought that it was pointless. Why do you need to stop drinking for a month? And even if you do, what happens next? Therefore I think Dry January is pointless, and here’s some more reasons to convince you why.

You’ll binge or be back on the booze by 1st February

If you like to drink, you’ll drink, and for the average person it’s actually not a hard thing to give up. Staying off the sauce for 1 month will likely bring you some benefits, you may loose a little bit of weight, you may feel better, and you’ll definitely have more hours in your weekends, since there’ll be no hangover to sleep off the day after. But once it’s over, you’ll be back to your usual drinking patterns, whatever they may be.

You Probably Don’t Need Dry January

How much alcohol do you actually drink? Drinking at the weekend with friends is possibly the most common, and while we all drink more in a night out than what’s recommended, it’s still only once a week, so isn’t going to be a huge concern. If you drink once a week that’s only 4 nights of drinking you’re missing, so calling is a month is a little misleading. You’re probably better off drinking less, which leads me on to the second point…

You’ll Miss Nights Out / Time With Friends

If you think you need Dry January it could be because you like to drink while you socialise, it’s a pretty standard thing in the UK, it’s always been a bit of a British institution. Going a month without it will mean not socialising for a month. You could go out without alcohol, but if you’ve ever tried that, you’ll know it’s never a good thing to have lots of happy drunk people around when you’re the only one who’s stone cold sober.

You’ll Miss Events

Do you know someone with a birthday in January? Do you have any events to attend? You’re going to have to tell them you can’t make it, or do the whole thing sober. Everyone will be toasting happy birthday with a glass of champagne, and you’ll be sitting there with your diet Coke.

You’ll Depress Yourself

Sometimes you just want to drink some alcohol. Whatever you’re poison may be; A nice glass of wine, a couple of beers with your mates, your favourite whisky, whatever it is. The working week is long and hard, there’s nothing wrong with rewarding yourself with a drink to wind down at the weekend, you deserve it. Prohibiting yourself from drinking isn’t going to make the end of your week any more pleasant.

You’ll Only Get Short Term Benefits

If you stop anything which is supposed to be bad for you for a month, then go back to it you’ll be no better off long term. If you’re a regular drinker and you stop for a month, you’ll likely get some benefits. The benefits are supposedly better sleep, loose weight and also save money. While all of these are may be true, once February kicks in, it’s all over for 11 months. It seems kind of pointless when you look at it like that.

You want to be healthier and fitter, so if Dry January isn’t the answer, what is?

It’s All About A Healthy Lifestyle

It comes down to lifestyle, a healthy lifestyle, for life, not a month. Going to a gym 7 days a week for 2 weeks then never going back isn’t going to give you any long term benefits, and the same can be said with alcohol. Instead of looking for a quick and temporary fix, and actually over-doing it for a short period of time, make smaller, long term changes. That could be cutting down the drinks when you’re out, replacing the worst sugary and alcoholic drinks with something different, or going out less. Make alcohol more of a treat than part of everyday life, it really is all about moderation.

What do you think of Dry January?


Michael Adams

Written By: Michael

Founder and editor of Michael 84, A UK men's blogs covering the best of fashion, style, tech, grooming, fragrances and lifestyle.

  1. jenny Said,

    I’m doing Dry January and have done a lot of reading up, so I’ll take the time to refute each point you’ve tried to make here.

    “YOU’LL BINGE OR BE BACK ON THE BOOZE BY 1ST FEBRUARY”
    There’s only been a few small studies done on this, but the data points to just the opposite: Dry January gives many people the kick-start they need to re-evaluate their relationship with alcohol and the habits they’ve formed around it. Six months later, most people who successfully complete Dry January and return to drinking are consuming considerably less than they were before.

    YOU PROBABLY DON’T NEED DRY JANUARY
    Well, if you don’t drink much to begin with, then – like you said – why are you bothering? The fact is most people in North America and the UK drink more than the recommended limits. Stopping drinking all together has given me the perspective I needed to realize I was one of those people. If you only drink once a week, then you’re not the target population that can benefit from a Dry January. I don’t eat dessert typically, so giving up dessert for a month wouldn’t make much sense. It’s not really giving me any new information about myself, or modifying any poor habits. Same goes for Dry January – those who can stand to benefit from it will.

    YOU’LL MISS NIGHTS OUT / TIME WITH FRIENDS
    Most friends are willing to go out for coffee or a meal instead. If not, maybe you need new friends.

    YOU’LL MISS EVENTS
    No, you won’t. There’s nothing wrong with raising a glass of sparkling water or a mocktail. What do you think pregnant women/recovering alcoholics/people who don’t drink for cultural reasons/those taking antibiotics do? This argument is beyond silly.

    YOU’LL DEPRESS YOURSELF
    This is maybe the one point I’ll give you. But, you find other things to do to relax, and pick up new, healthy habits. When I want a drink, I’m exercising instead. The craving passes, and my abs are reappearing!

    YOU’LL ONLY GET SHORT TERM BENEFITS
    Completing Dry January can have positive, life-long effects if you heed the lessons and personal insights it offers. See my first point.

    IT’S ALL ABOUT A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
    And a healthier lifestyle can and does seem to follow a successful Dry January. Merely “cutting back” on the number of drinks you’re having doesn’t offer even close to the same insights as stopping altogether for the month. Plus, there’s a tremendous sense of accomplishment for a regular drinker to give their livers a rest for this period of time. It makes you not want to go back to your old ways.

    It sounds like the author of this post is either not ready to address the reality of their own alcohol consumption, or is not a regular drinker to begin with and is therefore having trouble understanding the point of all of this. Either way, good luck to you! And maybe stick to subjects you know more about in future.

    posted on Wednesday 10th January, 2018 at 17:40
  2. Sam | North East Family Fun Blog Said,

    100000% agree. Life’s too short for dry January – everything in moderation I say.

    posted on Wednesday 10th January, 2018 at 18:01
  3. Michael Said,

    Thanks Sam, glad you agree 🙂

    Thanks for your comments Jenny. It seems you may have missed the point and tone of the post completely, which is that stopping drinking temporarily for 1 month and going back to your usual habits is pointless, and any benefits you do get, are short term (1 month). It is far better to change your lifestyle overall to be healthy, which could be cutting back on alcohol and other things, as well as introducing healthier aspects into your life.
    The “target population” as you put it is for people who drink once a week, it’s for anyone who wants to stop (such as ‘regular’ drinkers or social drinkers), but it’s not for those who are alcohol dependant, this is stated by Alcohol Concern/Alcohol Research.
    Dry January is very good for raising money, and for raising awareness, but stopping drinking for a month counting down the days to when you’re allowed a beer again is pointless IMO.

    Good luck with your Dry January 🙂

    posted on Wednesday 10th January, 2018 at 22:06
  4. jenny Said,

    Yeah, but, that’s just the thing – people DON’T tend to go back to their same habits after completing Dry January, thus making it a fantastic catalyst (for regular drinkers – 14 units a week, FYI) to adopt those healthier habits. Did you even read my comment? It seems you may have missed the point and tone of my comment entirely as well, so I guess there’s no sense discussing.

    posted on Thursday 11th January, 2018 at 2:59
  5. Michael Said,

    You are correct Jenny, there is no point in discussing, because it seems you are talking about stats and figures which are just numbers, whereas I am talking about people who I know who’ve done it, and people who talk about it, and the general tone of what people perceive Dry January to be (which is to stop for 1 month and 1 month alone). Sure there’ll be some people who do Dry January and stop drinking completely, but you don’t need dry January to do that, another point which is made in the post.

    posted on Thursday 11th January, 2018 at 11:33
  6. Kingston Said,

    Yeah Jenny, you’re just using stats and figures which are just numbers based on reality and studies and science and stuff. You should instead be using the scientifically-approved metric of ‘people I know who talk about it’.

    posted on Wednesday 17th January, 2018 at 10:17
  7. Michael Said,

    You’re right Kingston!
    I guess you’ve never came across the quote: Lies, damned lies, and statistics 😉 100% of the people who I know talk about it do it for a month and that’s all.

    posted on Wednesday 17th January, 2018 at 14:57
  8. Kingston Said,

    You say “100% of the people I you know”, and that’s a statistic…so am I supposed to believe you or not? I joke, I joke.

    But the real stats suggest that the majority of people who sign up to do it, do actually abstain from alcohol for the month. Looking longer term, over half reported that they now consumed less alcohol than they did before Dry January. In anyone’s book, that’s a positive, seeing as alcohol is currently the UK’s biggest risk factor for death, disability and general ill-health for those aged 15-49.

    So actually, contrary to being a ‘pointless waste of time’, Dry January is actively encouraging and succeeding when it comes to promoting healthier habits.

    posted on Wednesday 17th January, 2018 at 16:22

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