10 reasons to commit to a ‘Dry January’

I know that I definitely drank too much alcohol during 2015 and that it would be a good idea to commit to Dry January, where I would have no alcohol for the whole month. What I found slightly worrying is how long I spent considering whether I could manage to succeed or whether it was going to be too difficult. I have finally committed to taking part. There are a number of reasons why I have decided it is a good idea. Although it will obviously be good health wise, I think there are a lot more reasons to do it:

1) Stop the habit

The fact it took me so long to decide whether I could survive a whole month without alcohol is a worry in itself! Having a month drinking none at all, will hopefully help me break the habit that I have formed and stop me from feeling like I ‘need a drink’.

2) All or nothing

One of my favourite authors, Gretchen Ruben, talks about different types of people, either abstainers or moderators. She explains that “Abstainers” do better when they resist a temptation altogether (I’m an Abstainer). “Moderators” do better when they indulge moderately. For me, being an abstainer, Dry January works well as it means I will not have any alcohol at all. I have no ‘off switch’ when I have been drinking. If I am having fun, it means I drink to excess and don’t know when to stop. It often ends up in shooters and staying out much later than necessary, drinking way more than is sensible. The more I drink, the more I drink, I just don’t know when to stop! I strongly believe I will find it easier to go without completely, rather than trying to cut down.

3) Be yourself

I feel like I have got into the habit of drinking to have fun and at times this can make me feel like I have lost sense of who I really am. I often use alcohol to relax, loosen up and, forget about my everyday worries and be a more fun, adventurous and confident version of myself. I don’t want to get into the habit of using alcohol to party and have fun, I want to be able to do that without alcohol.

4) Be more engaged

Sometimes lately, I will go out with friends and feel that I haven’t properly spoken to the people I am with.  The night can revolve around drinking rather than talking to each other and I can wake up the next morning and wonder what we actually spoke about and how much I was really present and in the conversation. Once the drinks start flowing, I sometimes feel I am not really in the moment but rather an alcohol haze and I find it difficult to remember all the details from the night.

5) Take full responsibility for decisions

It can become very easy to blame decisions you make whilst drinking on the alcohol. I want to take full responsibility for my decisions and not have alcohol to blame for anything. I do sometimes (OK, quite often) make decisions I regret when drinking to excess and I want to be more sensible, or at least take responsibility for the decisions I make and not have an easy get out clause.

6) Looking after overall health

Not drinking any alcohol for a month should have good health benefits. You can click here to read a more scientific overview of some of the health benefits of reducing or giving up alcohol.

7) Sleeping better

When I drink it impacts my sleep, I don’t go into as deep a sleep, and it is often quite interrupted. I have been reading more and more research about how important a good nights sleep is for your overall health, I think not drinking will help me sleep better which is important for overall wellbeing.

8) Making the most of the day

If I want to have Microadventures then I need to make the most of the days. I can’t waste precious days in bed nursing a hangover, so by not drinking I think that will mean that I don’t waste as much time as I won’t need to recover and will have a better use of my weekends. I can get up early and head out and make the most of the time I have. I was fed up of having whole days written off in bed getting over my hangover.

9) Kickstart an overall reduction in drinking

I would like to reduce my overall drinking and I think that if I abstain in January, it should help me reduce the overall amount of alcohol I drink going forward as I see the benefits.

10) Save money

A side benefit of drinking no alcohol for January will be the money I save. It’s not that expensive to buy alcohol in Budapest, but I am sure I will still save something if I don’t drink at all.


I’d love to hear in the comments below whether you are doing Dry January and whether you have any hints and tips for success. I will definitely need all the support and encouragement I can get, as I really do think I will find it quite difficult, but I am determined to succeed.


  1. Neil December 30, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    10 very good reasons to give up alcohol for a month. I’m also doing a dry January myself – I actually started just over a week early. I think the best way to deal with the challenge is to focus on the benefits, especiallly points 1, 3 & 6. That way you offset the feeling of social norms and focus more on yourself and what’s good for you. Best of luck!


    • Mel Johnson December 30, 2015 at 11:05 am #

      Thanks for the encouragement Neil. I’m looking forward to the challenge and seeing how it goes. I am definitely going to focus on the benefits.


  2. Anett January 15, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    Hi, good luck with it. It is strange that most adults (including myself) always order alcohol when going out and it is the normál thing tó do. Then last year I went to a concert ín the middle of nothing and being with car resulted ín the first alcohol free night since a long time. I needed a bit more time to get ín the mood but it was one of my best nights. And with sleeping well, no hangover and being yourself you gain more at the end.


    • Mel Johnson January 17, 2016 at 10:52 am #

      Thanks Anett. It was a struggle at first, but now I am getting quite used to it and enjoying all the benefits. :-)



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