It’s all a myth! Or is it…?
“Dry January could have unintended consequences which would do more harm than good”
Those aren’t our words.
Those are the words of a medical professional.
A health expert.
Someone who we trust. Someone who knows what they’re talking about.
That someone, Ian Hamilton, lecturer at York University’s Department of Health Sciences, even made these arguments in the reputable British Medical Journal…
So what’s going on here?
Are those who’ve ventured over to the dry side actually doing themselves more harm than good? Or is Ian just a renegade with a penchant for vodka…
We don't think so. Hamilton argues the Dry January campaign led by Alcohol Concern “has had no rigorous evaluation” and “risks sending out a binary, all or nothing message about alcohol” with people potentially returning to "hazardous levels of consumption" come February, having simply viewed their 31 days of abstinence as permission to then drink to excess the rest of the year.
But for every Ian Hamilton, there’s also an Ian Gilmore.
Gilmore, an honorary professor at the University of Liverpool argues that in fact, “campaigns like Dry January are being used more as a way of people examining their relationship with alcohol and making longer term changes.” Gilmore refers to an independent evaluation of 2015’s Dry January by Public Health England, with 67% of participants saying they had maintained a sustained drop in their drinking six months on.
But while we’re all for drink-free days (and moderation and enjoyable sipping) the thought of abstaining for a whole month during the coldest, darkest time of year would suggest January is possibly the worst time to give up the booze.
Here are another 5 reasons why we WILL be having a drink this January:
1. To not become smug
All the Dry Januarians (definitely a word) are overheard boasting about all of the things they’ve accomplished now they don’t have a glass of wine in the evening. They’ve never felt so good! Their eyes are sparkling! They’re having just the BEST time sipping water at the hot new cocktail bar opening… Let us remember, sobriety is not a noble cause. As Alex Proud states writing for the Telegraph, “It’s not really positiv[ity], it’s just smugness masquerading as virtue. Would you rather be laughing at my stupid jokes over a few pints or having me show you the GPS data from my 20-mile walk?” Yeah, we’ll go for the former, thanks.
2. For health reasons
A hot toddy is, in our experience, the only way to ease the pain of an oncoming cold or sore throat. And it just isn’t the same without a splash of whisky or brandy. For whoever said, “Mmm hot water, that’ll sort me right out”? No-one. No-one ever said that. Plus, moderate consumption of alcohol has been proven to have health benefits, with a connection between moderate drinking and lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Which means a little booze is good for us. And no booze is not…
3. Because we hate to fail
Post-Christmas a house is full of temptation. Leftover wines, a few opened half-drunk spirits, all those lovely gifts you received from 31dover.com… Dry January means we have to wait even longer to enjoy the things we like. Not to mention the fact that as soon as you’re told you can’t do something, you instantly want to do it. It’s little surprise then that only 8% percent of us manage to stick to our New Year Resolutions. Why set ourselves up just to (probably) fail?
4. So we don’t become a bore
This is not the same as saying those who don’t drink are boring. There are plenty of hilarious teetotallers, role models, excellent people in the world for whom alcohol is not a part of their life. What we mean here is that there is nothing more eye-rollingly infuriating, teeth-grindingly annoying, outright BORING than listening to a drinker talk about the difficulties in staying dry for a month. The struggle is real, they cry. The struggle is not real. A real struggle is having to listen to such moans accompanied by disapproving stares whilst YOU enjoy the warmth of your delicious, spicy glass of Pinot Noir. Have a drink, or don’t have a drink. Who cares. Just please, no preaching.
5. Because, why not?
A healthier lifestyle is all about moderation. Drinking a little less, exercising a little more. Where is the sense in ditching booze for a month, but hitting the bottle every other night for the rest of the year? We agree with Ian Hamilton. We’re all grown ups here. We can all make choices. But if we had to make a choice of a crisp glass of wine every now and then, vs. no crisp glasses of wine at all for one month - well, you can probably guess what we’d choose.
So as Dry January comes to an end, remember that sometimes a little bit of what you fancy can actually do you good. And we quite fancy a little tipple…
Speaking of which…