My name is James, I love a beer, and in 2016 I co-founded Big Drop Brewing Co. I’m 6’4”, 16 stone on a good day, and enjoy nothing more than listening to Mastodon whilst watching the rugby, beer in hand (sobbing when the Welsh beat us). I might not be how you imagine a Dry January case study.
Dry January 2019 was my third attempt at the challenge – and my first successful dry month.
Since January, the majority of how I describe myself above has remained the same – the only change is popping 0.5% ABV in front of ‘beer in hand’.
I have always been a habitual drinker. Tuesday evening, slumped on the sofa after a crazy day? That calls for a red wine in a comedy-sized jumbo wine glass. Friday evening, end of the week, weather is reasonable? Hand me that beer, immediately, and get some food on that BBQ. Sunday afternoon, roast beef in the oven? That bottle of Malbec isn’t going to make it out of here alive.
I used to have a drink to signify the end of a day, the start of the weekend, and was happy use any other excuse to crack open a beer. Now? I’m still planning on having the odd beer or glass of wine, but on the odd occasion, not as part of my everyday existence.
So, what changed? It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment, but over time I’ve made the effort to cut down on my drinking, and Dry January was the perfectly timed final step to break the habit.
…over time I’ve made the effort to cut down on my drinking, and Dry January was the perfectly timed final step to break the habit.
Historically in some sections of the media, social or otherwise, Dry January been negatively portrayed as that gap in the year when you sit at home, staring at a clock, waiting for your social life to kick back in on 1 February.
Maybe that’s because it’s harder to feel like you can socialise whilst being stuck on sugary soft drinks, which you don’t really fancy, don’t look right and just don’t make you feel like you’re out having fun. But these days the explosion in quality alternatives that taste like your favourite tipple — from a refreshing G&T to a hearty stout — have made going out (and not sticking out) much simpler.
Naturally, having a selection of award-winning low alcohol beers on-hand made the change for me considerably easier! The great news is, they’re just as easy to get hold of for everyone now. Big Drop is available in Tesco, Ocado, Beer Hawk and ‘dry’ retailers like Dry Drinker and WiseBartender.
I’m still planning on having the odd beer or glass of wine, but on the odd occasion, not as part of my everyday existence.
I’ve come to the realisation that Dry January isn’t about January. It’s an opportunity to reset your relationship with alcohol for the entire year ahead, arguably forever. A chance to cut-out the drink for a few short weeks with a view to cutting-down, or waving goodbye to the booze entirely.
This is handily reinforced by the Dry January app giving me a whole 365-day calendar to tick off where I’ve skipped a drink and saved some cash.
To paraphrase Allen Carr – it’s not thinking about what you miss out on when giving something up, it’s thinking about everything you gain.
Cheers to Dry January. Here’s to the rest of the year.