When I first heard of Dry January several years ago, I recoiled in horror. A whole month without a drop of liquid relaxation in my glass! “Perish the thought!” I said to no one in particular. Dry January seems to have started as a grass roots movement. It grew into a public health campaign by the British charitable organization, Alcohol Concern. The term Dry January is catchy and marketable and has grown in popularity on social media, spreading throughout Europe and the US. At it’s most serious, Dry January is a way to reduce harm caused by over-consumption of alcohol and to take stock of possible addiction. For the average drinker, the goal is like a New Year’s resolution to restore balance after over-indulging during the holiday season. But if the reason for Dry January is to go without drinking for one month only to binge the rest of the year, it’s defeating the purpose.
As Dry January became more popular, it encouraged a bit of self-analysis with regards to our drinking habits and life balance. I came away with a few insights.
Without any forethought or planning, my drinking buddy and I had adopted a “two drinks a day” habit. The years we enjoyed our two drinks a day were in balance with our age and generally good health. As we get older and feel the need to cut back, going dry for one month, followed by regular drinking for the remainder of the year doesn’t seem like an effective way to maintain our good health. Instead, we instituted two dry days a week with our goal being to reduce weekly consumption of alcohol by a few units. For us, Tuesdays and Thursdays work well. If there’s a holiday or special event, we can switch to a different day, but keeping it fairly consistent helps us plan and remember not to drink.
With Tuesday and Thursday as dry days, Wednesday has become the oasis in the desert. We especially like to make Wednesday wine and cheese night, followed by appetizers or small plates for dinner in place of a big, heavy meal.
A benefit of consuming a few less bottles of wine and spirits is that we feel justified to spend a little more on what we do buy. My new motto is “Life Is Short, Buy Better Wine”.
Dry Two Days A Week will never be the trendy, popular catchphrase that Dry January has become. I can’t imagine it having the same impact as the Dry January slogan being trotted out as a fresh start to the beginning of each year. But if I haven’t convinced you that Dry Two Days A Week is better than the high-profile Dry January, let me finish by pointing out that followers of Dry January are abstaining for 31 days out of the year whereas Dry Two Days A Week will net you 104 days of righteous abstinence.