Firstly, I must mention while I did intend to complete Dry January, I only survived for two and half weeks, as celebrating/forgetting my Modern Literature exam was greatly needed, and I did so with multiple cocktail and an abundance of shots at WalkAbout that I deeply regretted the next morning. Therefore, I may not be the best example, but I had signed up to do this, with blissful ignorance of my lack of will power.
As soon as the first cup was spilt and someone started belting out a hit from 2009, I was very aware of my sobriety
The main thing that I learnt from my attempt at Dry January is that it is incredibly hard, especially during exam period. It seems that the only social gathering’s available at this time are restricted to ten minute freak-outs in front of Eddy B, or an evening pub trip to drink your sorrows away. I would say the hardest moments for me were friend’s birthdays, as while the first hour of pres was easy enough, as soon as the first cup was spilt and someone started belting out a hit from 2009, I was very aware of my sobriety. I did gain a sense of self-righteousness in the first week, allowing myself an immense amount of pride for the fact that I had not caved in drinking half a bottle of Sainsbury’s best Sauvé, but really the fact is that taking an accolades was pretty delusional of me. Like many students, I drink a lot, but not on daily basis. There will be a few nights a week where I will drink a copious amount, but as I have nothing close to a dependence, there’s no real reason I should be rewarding myself from refraining from a couple glasses.
Alcohol awareness should be promoted, especially for students and the mental health issues associated with dependency should receive more publicity, but sadly, Dry January is not generally viewed as connected to these problems.
During January, I saw many posts on social media of people proclaiming the hardships and their commitment to not drinking, but it seemed that it was rather for the likes and comments, instead of them actually taking a step back and reassessing their relationship with alcohol. I too, liked when someone congratulated me, but the truth is it is not really a challenge and should not be taken as one. Even though I did not complete it, I know I could. I feel that alcohol awareness should be promoted, especially for students and the mental health issues associated with dependency should receive more publicity, but sadly, Dry January is not generally viewed as connected to these problems. Instead, it is seen as giving our liver a break after the holiday period and a part of one of the ‘New Year, New Me’ trends that only ever seem to last the duration of the month. Unless, you are actually going to give up alcohol for a longer period of time, or address an issue with it, giving it up for a month will not have any major effect on you in the long run.
If you search for ‘Opinions on Dry January’ the first results you get are all about whether it is ‘worth it’. The main consensus is actually no. While it does make some people realise their level of dependence, preventing consumption for thirty-one days to make yourself ‘feel’ better, is only doing that, allowing yourself to feel virtuous. Instead, it would be better to cut down every week, rather than going full cold turkey. Like the doctor says, everything is good in moderation.
I understand that Dry January is a good thing, it raises money, makes people think and I will congratulate anyone who feels that the stint actually makes a difference in their life. However, I will also continue to drink my double vodkas and cheap white wine and not feel guilty that I did not make it the whole way. The false sense of virtuousness that comes from abstaining, shows that it is like any other trend, people just wanting a reaction, a feeling of admiration. Cheers?
Concerned about alcohol dependency? Visit: https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/