As we head into the first weekend of 2024, for many it will be a time without alcohol as they embark upon dry January. As I wrote about in November
, I have not drunk since 2008. The process of giving up drinking actually started with a dry January back in 2005. At a New Year’s party I decided I would go over to chat up a woman after a few more beers. To me this this struck a chord, why would I need a few beers to go chat to a woman?
So I decided to give up drink until I could do it. That started a three month challenge with plenty of awkwardness. The chatting to women part I got to grips with fairly quickly and was much easier than learning to dance sober. … ouch… this part was horrendous to begin with and took a long time to get around.
Through effort, study and determination at the end of this period I was comfortable chatting to women and dancing sober… this destroyed most of the reasons I would drink. I knew I could have fun and socialise without alcohol and also knew it wasn’t something I needed to ‘relax’.
There is a simple adjustment to the way most people approach this month that can make it a completely life changing experience. This relates to the question; what is the point of dry January? If it is just to give the liver a month off to allow you to do another 11 months of boozing then all good, cut it out as best you can.
If It is to change your behaviour around alcohol then most people do it wrong. Real world success in changing drinking behaviour is that you should keep doing everything else the same except the not drinking part.
This means still going out, still meeting your friends in the pub, going on dates, taking your partner to nice restaurants, having sex etc. Everything should be the same except that you are doing it all without any drink. It is not cave dwelling Janaury, it is dry January, which should be a typical month but without any drink.
What Does This Mean For You?
So what will happen if you do keep living normally but without drink? You may feel uncomfortable, you may feel awkward but this will not kill you. It will strengthen you. At the end of this process you will be totally different around drink, very possibly you will always be better around alcohol. It can be a totally life changing experience.
Do you need to give up for life after that? No! However, you may find you naturally (e.g. without even trying) find you do not go back to your old drinking routine as you have changed some of your connections around alcohol.
I prefer sober October to Dry January if I had to choose one because not many other people do it at the same time. So you are forced to live the same lifestyle but without drink. This creates long term significant changes.
Are You doing Dry January?
How can you keep doing similar activities to before but drink free?