Dry January isn’t quite alcohol recovery. But it might redefine alcohol for a whole month.

We like to use January for beginning things (even if our New Year’s Resolutions never last). But some also use January to end things – “Dry January,” for example. But what is Dry January?

Dry January Redefines Drinking

It’s a month-long call to stop drinking, one that runs every January at Alcohol Change UK. In their words, “Dry January is the UK’s one-month booze-free challenge that helps millions reset their relationship with alcohol every year.” Since it first launched in 2013, Dry January has spread to the US as well, and in 2019 many Americans took the challenge.

You see, people try Dry January to reevaluate their drinking habits with the momentum of the New Year. Many people don’t understand how much they drink in a month until they drink nothing for a month. How much do I drink? When do I drink? Why do I drink? The effort of Dry January can help people answer these questions, maybe for the first time.

But What About Alcohol Recovery?

Remember, drinking no alcohol for Dry January isn’t long-term recovery from alcohol. We stressed this when we explained the “Sober Curious” trend: drinking less doesn’t entail the same commitment as full recovery. Dry January has the comfort of choosing to drink less. Those in alcohol recovery need to not drink at all for the sake of their lives, families and livelihoods.

We can all support Dry January as it helps expand the conversation around problematic drinking. It’s time that we reconsider whether our drinking is healthy or not. We can also appreciate long-term alcohol recovery as the harder battle.

So What Now?

Well, it depends.

If you’ve never really considered your drinking, Dry January could be the time to try. Maybe you’ve been drinking more alcohol than you’re comfortable with. Maybe you’ve been drinking more often than you like. Maybe you’ve made drinking alcohol into a habit without realizing it. Dry January might be the best, first time this year to do something about it. Learn more about it, and decide for yourself!

If you’re in ongoing recovery from alcohol, don’t worry about Dry January too much. It doesn’t minimize your own journey. However, Dry January might be the chance to help others understand that journey. Think about it – when else might your loved ones be alcohol-free like this? It’s the chance for them to better understand your life’s path, and maybe for them to choose it for themselves also. See if you can support anyone who tries out Dry January. It’ll likely help them support you.

And no matter who you are, visit In The Rooms and find the addiction resources which serve you. If it’s your first time, learn how you can get started. If you’ve already been in recovery, visit our recovery hub. But everyone can start by looking at our 130 online peer recovery meetings, since that’s what our community does best. Join us today!


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