In recent years, a disturbing new trend has emerged that needs to be addressed. I speak, of course, of Dry January, or as I refer to it, No Fun Month.
Like many questionable ideas with good intentions, the origins of Dry January are understandable. After a month of bingeing on chocolates and egg nog lattes—not to mention copious amounts of rum, wine, champagne and barrel-aged marshmallow Russian imperial stouts—people feel like they need to take a break, to reset, to allow their body and their wallet to recover from the damage they’ve done to it all year. Giving up alcohol for a month seems like a convenient and easy way to accomplish this.
On the surface, it appears to be a good idea. After all, who couldn’t use a break once in a while? It’s New Year’s Resolution time, so why not?
First, let me say that if you are in the middle of Dry January and it’s working for you, awesome! Power to you! In fact, here’s some perfectly palatable non-alcoholic beers to help you get through the month.
Personally, I’m not a fan, however. As proved by all those people from high school who had kids at 17 and are now trying to sell you essential oils on Facebook, abstinence often doesn’t work. The problem is that giving up alcohol for a month accomplishes exactly nothing if on February 1st you go right back to getting shitfaced on the regular. If you are a heavy drinker, there is absolutely no health benefit from taking a month off.
Also, it’s super boring for the rest of us! If you are going to do Dry January, don’t become a hermit. Go play outside. Your friends miss you. Seriously, it sucks when you’re not around.
Granted, I’m just some asshole on the Internet, and you are obviously under no obligation to listen to any of my nonsense. Lord knows I’m no role model. But I have to wonder if this quasi-Lentian self-flagellation is necessary.
What if instead of trying to go cold turkey for a month, then going right back to the problematic behaviour that prompted the need to go cold turkey in the first place, we all tried to make a permanent change for the better?
I’m not talking about giving up alcohol completely, just drink better! Alcohol shouldn’t be a means to an end (that end being blackout drunkenness, of course); it can and should be enjoyed on its own merits.
Why not try a sleeve of low-alcohol session pale ale instead of a six-pack of high test? Why not put down the two-four of PBR you were going to drink to your dome and split a bomber of something spectacular with someone equally spectacular? Maybe don’t crush a dozen beers after you get off work every Friday and spend the rest of the weekend in a self-pitying, hungover haze while your partner passive aggressively complains as she does the dishes because you’re too much of a mess to get off the couch and be a useful member of society (I love you, honey!). Just a thought.
Have one beer, and enjoy it. Savour it. Appreciate it. You’ll feel much better the next day. And every day afterwards.
It’s such a great idea, I might even have to take my own unsolicited advice!
So this New Year, instead of going cold turkey, let’s all exercise a modicum of self-restraint. We’re adults, dammit. It’s time we started drinking like it.