Dry January: Andrea’s Story

Written by on January 15, 2013 in Seasonal - 4 Comments

We’re now halfway through Dry January, so I decided to ask a friend about her own previous experiences, and how it’s going this time round.

Andrea (32) is an Account Manager & mother of two from Surrey.

Questions are mine, and answers are hers (the other way round wouldn’t have made any sense).

Why did you do Dry January?

“I decided to do dry January for the first time last year. I was inspired by a relative of mine who gave up alcohol for a year to raise money for charity. My own motives were mainly to lose weight and try to be a bit more healthy after the excesses of Christmas and new year.”

How was it?

“I found it relatively easy, having a specific time period to work towards made it easier to achieve.. The longer I went without alcohol the more determined I was.”

What were the positives?

“I definitely felt healthier and lost weight (I was also eating more healthily). I was also really pleased with myself for sticking to it and making it through the month without any alcohol.”

And the negatives?

“I didn’t find any real negatives but I did kid myself by having virgin gin and Tonics when I was out… I think a lot of people struggle because they replace alcohol with a pint of coke when they are out and don’t enjoy it. I mixed it up drinking tonic, ginger ale, orange and lemonade & fruit juices which stopped me from getting bored of the normal fizzy soft drinks.”

Did you go on a mad binge when you’d finished?

“No, in fact I think I held off from drinking until about a week into February. After not drinking for a month it felt silly to just have a drink for the sake of it. I found the longer I went without alcohol the less I felt the desire to have it out of habit.”

What do you think was the overall long term impact?

“I don’t think there was a long term change, I went back to drinking but it was definitely a positive experience and made me think about my alcohol consumption.

I think I probably drank a little less in February and March but as time went on the effect was reduced. My attitude was to drink out of desire not habit or convenience.”

Did you learn anything about yourself and your attitudes to alcohol?

“I think I realised that my alcohol consumption has been gradually creeping up over time with me drinking more at home than I ever did before. I also recognised the reason s for this and was able to challenge myself : ‘Do you really want a glass of wine or is it just because it is open and someone else is having a glass?’”

How is this year’s Dry January going?

“Well I am now on day 14 and so far so good.  There have been a few occasions when I have fancied a drink – taking down the Christmas decorations I had a craving for a nice glass of fizzy wine, but resisted.  Other occasions when I thought I would feel like a drink have passed without any desire whatsoever.  I am not sure I feel better for not having any alcohol but I do feel a sense of achievement at not having caved in.

Dry January

(Photo: kozumel)

My other half, Neil, has also been giving dry January a go – for him I think it has been a lot harder than it has been for me, his work involves quite a bit of socialising and with this comes lots of drinking.

So far he has only had one pint of beer when out with work and no alcohol at home.  This is a real change for him as he drinks pretty much every day either at home or work or both.  Neil not drinking at home has definitely made it easier for me.

Having done Dry January last year I feel confident that I’ll be completely dry this January too. I’m half way there already (sounds like I am counting the days until I can be re-united with the cork screw).

This time around there has been a lot of media coverage about Dry January – quite a lot of it has been negative saying that we are not doing ourselves any favours by abstaining from alcohol.  In my opinion, not drinking for a month has got to have its health benefits, unless that is,you plan on drinking your January quota of booze come February the 1st…”

How is your own Dry January going? Have you made it this far? How has it changed the way you view alcohol, if at all?

About the Author

Neil Bennion stopped drinking alcohol for health reasons back in 2006. He's been ridiculed all over the world for his lifestyle choice, but he must like it because he keeps coming back - or rather, going away - for more. Neil is a freelance travel writer who blogs about productivity on the road at Wandering Desk. Note that Neil is not a health professional (thank goodness) so the traditional disclaimer about everything being your own fault applies.

4 Comments on "Dry January: Andrea’s Story"

  1. ed January 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm · Reply

    I think any time that you devote to not drinking is useful unless you have serious dependancy problems then you will want to be avoiding the kindling effect. I gave up for a year in 2008-2009 and it was great to be alcohol free. It crept back in and I aim ultimately for sobriety but it has never returned to the amount I was drinking pre April 2008. So I think for people on the borderline things like Dry January are an excellent opportunity to reassess one’s relationship with alcohol. I aim for a dry january and no more than 40 drinking occassions a year. If 20 of those occassions are ‘a couple of sociable drinks’ occassions, 10 are a bottle of wine in front of the TV and a further 10 are ‘lost count’ occassions I think I am, doing well – for me.

    • Neil Bennion January 27, 2013 at 2:56 pm · Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Ed, and good luck with the path you’ve chosen

  2. marilyn critchley March 15, 2013 at 3:46 pm · Reply

    Interesting interview. I had never heard about ‘dry January’ till this year when a friend rang to ask me to sponsor her. She said she would struggle to manage the whole month. Don’t know if she did but I stumped up the money anyway. I probably have a dry January, February, March…..you get the picture. I do occasionally have a glass or two of wine but I know my limits. I would never want to relive the embarrassing, but thankfully rare, occasions when I have over indulged.

    • Neil Bennion March 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm · Reply

      Thanks for sharing, Marilyn. Every month is a dry month for me, but I remember very well how hard it was giving up at first.

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