I was thinking last night about how, even though it is meant well, ‘Dry January’ is not very helpful in the pursuit of cutting down or giving up alcohol.
Even the word ‘dry’ equates to not having something and conjures up an image of some poor person being parched in a desert without any liquid to quench their thirst.
How noble we all seem to be when we partake in this month of abstinence; some of us even turn into martyrs. I have a work colleague who from snippets of conversation, have gathered that he drinks a fair amount of alcohol. I was still drinking alcohol at the time, when one January I asked him if he was going to go out and get a bottle of wine later, as he usually seemed to after a stressful day at work. “Oh no!” he swiftly replied, all chuffed with himself. “I’m giving up booze for a month and am partaking in ‘Dry January'”. I suddenly felt embarrassed and judged, as if I should have done the same and crawled back under my stone, like the foul, alcohol swigging, wretched creature that I was.
So we all know by now that alcohol is a drug. So what if this year I was to invent “Stop-Snorting September” for all the cocaine users, or “Needle-less November” for those who partake in heroin? Would that be a cool thing to do? If a person who took cocaine on a regular basis came up to you, very smug with themselves and proudly exclaimed that they were going to quit cocaine for a month to prove that they could do it and to purge the drug from their body on a temporary basis only, wouldn’t you think that they had a really serious problem with cocaine? Wouldn’t you also think that they should check themselves into the nearest detox, so that they could get off cocaine for good? I know, I know cocaine is illegal – but if you take the law out of it, tell me what is the difference?
Once you have given up alcohol for a month then what? Do you go back to your normal drinking habits again? Are you able to cut down more than you used to? Isn’t it more likely that by the time that ‘Dry January’ is over that little voice in your head asking “Is it the 1st of February yet?” has turned into a deafening, loud roar?
Surely it is better to give up altogether, or at least to keep your alcohol limit to less than the recommended 14 units of alcohol per week at all times.