Dry January – Why Won’t I Be Doing It

Dry January – Why Won’t I Be Doing It

Dry January. It comes around every year and every year, I think there is no way I am doing that. I never have either. To me it’s another fad. Almost like detoxing; another buzzword that drives me mad!

I have nothing against some of the amazing charities working tirelessly to raise money for causes such as cancer and heart disease by setting people health challenges like Dry January. I know many people do complete this challenge for charities and that is a slightly different matter but still, Dry January drives me a little nuts.

Dry January – Sounds Good?

In theory Dry January sounds good, right? Not consuming alcohol for a month will give the body, the liver especially, a good month to recover. Participants may actually start to feel they don’t miss it that much and perhaps cut down or give up completely. There are other benefits; potential weight loss, better sleeping, saving money and perhaps feeling generally better. These are very positive outcomes.

However, I don’t think this will be the case for the majority. I’ve written before in various posts such as quick fixes aren’t quick and don’t be scared of sugar; we as humans want that quick fix. It’s all about the getting it now, with minimal effort. It’s perhaps very easy to cut something out for a month, whether it be alcohol, sugar, carbs whatever. But ultimately as soon as that month is over the excessive habits can return and you are back to square one. What is missing is education on healthy living and safe drinking. This is available on all the relevant websites but like anything who reads to it and sticks to it? We all see the bottles of wine, displaying the number of units. We all see the Drink Aware signs but do they hit home?

A month long dry spell followed by a month long set of weekends of binge drinking is a complete waste of time. I’m sure this is what will happen for many people: I’ve had a month off that toxin. I “deserve” that blow out. I’m not going to lie; that’s been my mentality many times. But health-wise it’s not great. Binge drinking is a very real problem in the UK as is general excessive drinking. It’s not just the health risks associated, it the social effects of excessive drinking  on families, relationships and of course our Health System.

I’m not a saint and of course have more than 2-3 units a night on occasion but usually stick to my 14 units a week for a woman and have alcohol free days. Men should have no more than 14 units a week either now, as the guidelines have changed. Bearing in mind half a pint is 1 unit and this depends on the drink and alcohol content, it is easy to overdo it.

I bang on a lot about moderation. A lot. But ultimately it’s sustainable. Eat healthily and still have some chocolate. Be active and still have a duvet day. Moderation? It is well known that we should be sticking to safe drinking, ensuring the body has a couple of alcohol free days a week for the liver to rest. But a challenge called “safe drinking for a month” really isn’t that sexy is it?

I wouldn’t bother with Dry January. Instead set yourself a challenge to get educated. Find out more about the alcohol content of your favourite drinks and challenge yourself to stick to safe drinking for a month. You may find this is a lot easier to stick to long-term and is better for your health. You can still make that nice donation to charity as well.

Dry January. Do you do it?

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15 Comments

  1. September 6, 2015 / 5:38 am

    So true, I don't understand the point of stopping for one month to just start again after anyway? #sundaystars

  2. September 6, 2015 / 7:52 am

    This is a very interesting post. I agree that going cold turkey and then binging is terrible. But I think that the Dryathalon is just a hook to encourage people to fundraise and as it is in January it feeds into many people giving up (or cutting down) alcohol for the New Year. Everyone I know who has done this has felt the health benefits and it has encouraged them to cut down their alcohol consumption – which can't be a bad thing. But I do see your point that this could lead to binge drinking afterwards. Hugs Mrs H xxxx #SundaysStars

  3. September 6, 2015 / 9:01 pm

    Great post! I totally agree and I think most people that do the dryathlon or something similar when the month is up binge on whatever the gave up. Since losing weight I am all for moderation and I used to try the quick fix but it's not a fix #sundaystars xx

  4. Mama, My Kid Doesn't Poop Rainbows
    September 7, 2015 / 4:01 am

    Very sensible. The hangovers which come when I have more than a glass or two are enough to put me off bingeing….most of the time.

  5. Vicky Charles
    September 7, 2015 / 8:39 am

    Someone on my Facebook is doing Dry September and it's nice to see that he's managing to go out for dinner with friends and suchlike and still not have a drink; he's clearly very pleased with himself. But it feels a bit like "yikes, how much were you drinking before, that you're this proud of yourself for not having beer with your dinner?!"
    I think it's one of those things isn't it, if someone drinks a lot then perhaps a month "off" might help to kickstart a healthier lifestyle – but also people are likely to just spend the first week of October in a drunken haze. Horses for courses! #Bloggingtojogging

  6. September 7, 2015 / 3:20 pm

    Brilliant post and I have to agree. The Hubby and I never cut anything out completely, it's far too restricting and you end up craving whatever it is you cut out. Instead we modify how much of the said thing we have. At the moment, having just returned from Florida, we're slowing down the drinking. We've had far too much to drink over the holiday and now it's time to behave again. By behave I mean we will probably restrict our drinking to weekends and then not have too much. Perhaps just one or two glasses. I'd have to agree with you, everything – in moderation. #BloggingtoJogging

  7. Sam Kersley
    September 7, 2015 / 8:57 pm

    I think you have wriiten a great great post here. I'm not TeeTotal i have a drink from time to time and since having Logan I don't have lots to drink. Yes the odd party I might drink a little more than normal but I don't like to get drunk anymore and at home I might have glass of wine maybe once or twice a month every few months maybe. I agree if people want to cut down on drinking they need to do it long term not just for a month to say look what I'm doing.
    Great post. #BloggingToJogging.

  8. Claire Kirby
    September 8, 2015 / 11:00 am

    I found an alcohol free rose when I was pregnant. I still drink it now! Less calories and no hangover. Only problem now is that on the rare occasion I do drink, I'm a lightweight! #thetruthabout

  9. September 8, 2015 / 10:28 am

    I definitely agree that moderation is important and that doing these things as a "healthy" challenge is somewhat pointless although raising awareness and funds for the charities involved is a good thing – it all depends on why you are taking on the challenge. If it's about changing habits and kick-starting a healthy lifestyle, then moderation is a better way forward and much more healthy and sustainable than abstinence followed by bingeing. #thetruthabout

  10. September 8, 2015 / 11:59 am

    I'm a big believer in moderation also. There aren't many days when I don't have a drink at night, but there aren't many days I have more than a few. Good for me? Probably not, but there are worse vices

  11. Katie Humphrey
    September 8, 2015 / 8:30 pm

    I do drink and can do it very well 😉 but I only drink when I'm out, which is pretty much never (and I don't binge), so I don't really see the point in dryathlons myself and don't think I would sponsor someone to not drink. Like you very sensibly said, everything in moderation is much more sustainable 🙂 Thanks for linking up with #sundaystars x

  12. September 9, 2015 / 11:18 am

    I did do the Sober for October challenge a few years ago when I was going through my drinking phase and it was awful. Utterly awful and I cannot understand the health benefits from it at all as we were all geared up for it ending so we could enjoy a Halloween party in style… and excess. Now however, I have actually taken the decision to turn teetotal off my own back and the benefits are much easier to see – a great post and I am totally with you on this one! Sim #WeightLossWednesday xx

  13. September 9, 2015 / 4:22 pm

    I'm all for fundraising but i think January is a tough month of the year psychologically – the lack of natural light, Christmas being over (I LOVE christmas!), everyone's mood being low – so it's the last time of year I'd do anything that might make life more difficult. Having said that I don't really drink much anyway so cutting out my few well-deserved and much enjoyed glasses of wine a week wouldn't really achieve anything of note!

  14. September 12, 2015 / 7:15 am

    Very interesting post. A dryathlon can have health benefits but once it's over if you carry on as you were before it's a bit pointless (besides the money they've raised, of course!) Your suggestion of education will reap longer term benefits that are better for all xx #TheTruthAbout

  15. Jeremy@ThirstyDaddy
    January 26, 2020 / 2:44 am

    I don’t see the point of this at all. If you don’t want to drink anymore, thats awesome, quit drinking. Why only quit for one month. I’m with you on moderation, I sing its praises often also