Dry January

We all have resolutions and participating in “Dry January” is not one of mine. The phenomenon presumes that giving up alcohol for a month will lead to an overall healthier year and is actually gaining a lot of popularity among quarter-lifers. I fully support the idea of starting the year off healthy, but I don’t think swearing off alcohol for 31 days is going to instantly lead to a healthy new year.

If my state of “health” is determined by the amount of alcohol I drink, than I’d likely be considered very unhealthy, when in reality I'm not at all. I'm a healthy, motivated, twenty-five year old with a solid career and a strong work ethic. I like to eat healthy and I regularly hit the gym, but I also like to socialize and go out on the weekends as most twenty-somethings enjoy doing. I am constantly and consciously putting myself in social situations where alcohol is in the mix, whether it be Trivia Tuesday or post-work happy hours. I’m not saying I get "turnt" every night but I definitely enjoy a glass of wine here and there and I think that's normal for our age.

A large majority of my peers have started "Dry January" in hopes to kick off the New Year with a healthy start... bravo! They have verbally committed to breaking up with booze for a month, cold turkey, not a drip, not a drop. "Dry January" has lead me into a confusion,  mostly because my friends are just like me. They enjoy drinking and socializing but they also have their sh*t together. They go to work, they eat pretty healthy, they exercise (but not to excess), and they like to socialize so why is there such a pressure to give up alcohol in January? Do I have a problem because I'm not jumping on the band wagon? 

The main issue I have with “Dry January” is that realistically this resolution is probably not going to magically lead you to a healthier lifestyle. It will definitely test your willpower and strength, but cutting out alcohol for a single month isn’t going to significantly impact your long-term health and wellness. Sure, going dry definitely has its benefits, especially going dry for an extended period of time so why not try that? The real resolution should be to consume less alcohol in general rather than completely swearing it off and torturing yourself for a month.

Those who did end up participating in "Dry January" made this decision prior to New Year's Eve. Therefore they ended boozing HARD leading up to January. Probably consuming a month's worth of alcohol in the span of a week. Bottles to the face, making out with f*ck boys, passing out fully clothed, dancing on tables, and lots of drunken tears. All of those actions validated by the fact that they will not be having a drop of alcohol starting January 1st (except for New Year's Day brunch…obviously). Honestly is Trainwreck Amy Schumer how we should be starting our path towards a healthy new year?   

Realistically, if you’re goal is to have a healthier year, you shouldn’t go full blown “dry” for a month. Yes, you probably should minimize your overall alcohol consumption for an extended period of time because that is what adulting typically entails. However, restricting yourself from the things you enjoy will likely make your crave it even more making  it extremely hard for you to resist that wine. Whether it be avoiding wine or chocolate or not eating junk food you can't immediately restrict yourself. Setting up unrealistic expectations is unhealthy in itself. Say you have that one glass of wine and break your "Dry January" resolution, you're going to be left feeling discouraged, unhappy and ultimately unhealthy with your new “f*ck it” attitude.

Resolutions should be realistic not extreme. Therefore, I will not be giving up alcohol in January because giving up alcohol for a month does not make me a healthier person. In order to be healthier, you need to have a positive mindset and realistic goal in mind. Restricting yourself from something you enjoy is not a healthy way to kick off the New Year. Don’t drink an entire bottle of wine in one sitting, but please do enjoy a glass.