'Coming out' about your Dry January

Lauren Booker | December 2018 | 8 minutes

Maybe you’ll be shouting about Trying Dry from the rooftops (or at least on social media), or maybe you’ll only want to tell your closest friends and family. Choosing who to tell (and when and how) ahead of time can boost your chances of success. That said, telling people that you’re going dry – especially if you drank quite a bit before – can be daunting. Welcome to your ‘coming out’ phase.

Adapted From Try Dry: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze

Who will you tell?

As much as your dry journey is about you, I’m afraid you’re bound to encounter at least a few other humans during your month and they will have a bearing on how you experience it. Some of them will make things a lot easier and more fun, some will be curious and others may do their best to get you back to your old ways. Who will it be useful to have on side? Who might be affected by your month? And what will you say when people offer you a drink?

How will you tell people?

So there are quite a few people you might need or want to tell. But how to do it? Obviously some people will need you to talk this through with them in more detail than others: your partner, close friends (especially the ones you often drink with) and maybe your kids. A good place to start, though, is by developing an elevator pitch.

The elevator pitch

The principle behind the elevator pitch is that you imagine answering a question about your Dry January – what you’re doing, why you’re doing it – in the time it takes an elevator (er, lift) to travel between floors. Your pitch should work for pretty much anyone: your friends from work, the guy you usually see at the pub, your nosy neighbour who’s wondering why your recycling bin is suddenly so empty.

Why is this useful? Having a couple of sentences planned is great for three reasons:

1. Fake it ’til you make it. Just saying the words can help you to focus on your goal.

2. Others are less likely to question your challenge if you sound convincing.

3. Having a set response means you’re not going to stumble over your words or start justifying your reasons.

The trick is to figure out how to explain your dry journey as succinctly as possible. You’ll need to include exactly what your challenge is and why you’re doing it. There are four steps to the perfect elevator pitch:

1. Tell them what you’re doing – one month alcohol-free – but also why. People will want to know what’s in it for you, so sell the benefits.

2. Keep your language positive – this is a challenge, not a punishment.

3. Keep it brief – this is not a justification or an explanation, just your way of letting people know. You can always lengthen it for certain people if necessary.

4. Practise your pitch out loud. No, really. You need to feel comfortable saying the words and you need to run through it a few times to remember what it is you’re going to say. Feel free to write it on your hand if it will help.


Take some time to get the wording of your pitch right, then note it down.

Here are some elevator pitches that have worked for other people:

  • ‘I’m not drinking at present and it’s really helping me focus on other things.’
  • ‘I’m raising money for my favourite charity by going dry for a month.’
  • ‘I’m having a break from drinking – it’s helping me to save for my wedding/new mortgage/upcoming trip to Butlins.’
What if I don’t want to tell someone – or anyone – that I’m dry?

If you’re going dry for a month, you have absolutely NOTHING to be embarrassed about, and no one should make you feel like you have. You’re doing something to be pretty proud of. That said, you might decide that telling some people isn’t worth the hassle. That’s OK too. If there are people around you who are struggling with their own relationship with booze, or friends and family who may not be over the moon about your choice, then you might want to keep it to yourself. If you want to just dip your toes into dry and see how it feels before letting everyone know, give it a week and see how you feel then. Don’t forget the Dry January app and Facebook group can give you virtual support in the meantime.

Not telling anyone is possibly not the best idea. Having some support through the month can make a massive difference. Even if your friends and family aren’t super supportive, just having them know about your dry month can be helpful so they don’t keep offering you drinks (though knowing might not always stop them). If you do decide to Try Dry without anyone knowing, it’s doable but it might take a bit of subterfuge.

Have you downloaded our app yet? You can use it year-round to track your drinking, savings and more! Find out more and download it here. You can also buy our book, Try Dry: the Official Guide to a Month Off Booze, here. It's full of handy tips and advice for giving dry a go - whether that's January or any other month!

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