Okay, I’m sure some of you are thinking, ‘Is dry February even a thing? I thought it was supposed to be January?’
Yes. ‘Dry January’ is an actual ‘thing’. However, for a number of reasons (mostly centred around the fact that I had already committed to several alcohol-heavy events in January) I decided January wouldn’t be ideal for me, and I should maybe give February a shot instead. Saving money, having a lot of Uni work to do, and actually just proving to myself / my Mother that I could do it are a few of the main reasons I decided to go through with it (plus, as literally all my friends have pointed out, it also happens to be the shortest month).
So, now I’ve successfully completed my first dry month since approx. 2009, here are a few of the things I learned;
1. You do actually feel physically better for it. The smug feeling of waking up on a Saturday morning with zero hangover is actually incredible (especially if your friends are blatantly suffering from the fun they had the night before. Cruel but true).
2. You save crazy money. This is an obvious point to make, but it’s still amazing how much cheaper everything becomes when you’re not drinking.
3. It’s still possible (shock horror) to have fun. I always used to be slightly dubious of people who told me that not-drinking is as much fun as drinking, but (although I would argue that being tipsy slightly has the edge over 100% sober), I actually did have a really good time going out for dinner etc without having a drink…
4. …which really made me think; now I am ‘allowed’ to drink again, I’m definitely finding that I’m not drinking as much as I used to before on any given night (yaaay), without having any less fun.
5. Going it alone is harder. Okay, so I wasn’t actually alone (my Mother and partner were also ‘dry’ for February), but it felt a bit lonely when everyone had just finished dry January, and were celebrating with a cocktail or eight. Would definitely recommend dragging as many friends into your dry month as possible.
6. Holding yourself accountable helps a lot. All my friends and colleagues knew I’d decided to go for it, so it would have felt pretty embarrassing to fail halfway through the month.
7. It gives you a such a great feeling of satisfaction when you finish. As someone who loves to set goals for themself, the satisfaction of doing something I’d challenged myself to was huuuge.
8. You are more productive. Instead of spending my weekends lounging around watching Netflix (okay, I still did this, but not to the same extent), I read more, did more exercise, got more uni work done, and went to more brunches and other fun things.
9. It changes your relationship with alcohol. Rather than automatically ordering a large house white when I go out for dinner / drinks, I actually now consider whether I want something alcoholic each time I go to the bar.
10. When you do have your first drink the next month, it really does taste sweeter. As they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder…
On reflection, I’m actually really glad I did Dry February, and although it was hard at times, it was actually nowhere near as difficult as I’d envisaged. I would definitely recommend doing a dry month every so often, to give your body (and mind) some time to detox, and am planning on doing a dry month at least once a year from now on.
Any advice, tips, or stories relating to ‘dry’ months would be very welcome!