This article was originally published on December 17, 2015.
A couple of years ago, I decided to do a Dry January. That means no booze at all, for any reason (yes, even at a birthday party / wedding / after a bad day / whatever) for the entire month. To some people, that might not sound like a big deal, but to me it sounded like a major commitment. Before I gave this a try, I wasn’t even a huge drinker or partier — I would do wine on weeknights, and maybe some cocktails on the weekends with friends. So, my Dry January was not about “detoxing” or turning around a serious bad habit. Mostly, I wanted to see if having a sober month was something I could do. I also wanted to see how it would make me feel (better? more focused? totally the same?).
Going in, I figured I would probably miss having a drink with my friends on the weekends, but as it turned out, the effects were way more far-reaching than that. My first-ever Dry January not only totally changed my relationship with alcohol; it changed some of my friendships, and I’d even argue it changed my life. In fact, January 2016 will be my seventh Dry January.
Intrigued? If you are planning to try a Dry January, there are some important things you need to know before you embark on this challenging, enlightening, and ultimately rewarding booze-free journey. Here we go.