Why you're definitely not missing out while you take part in Dry January®

Dupe Witherick | January 2024 | 9 minutes

If you had said to me five years ago I would be alcohol free, no longer drinking and encouraging and inspiring others to do the same thing, I would have initially absolutely laughed out loud, then thought (and likely said to you) that you were mad and to prove the point, would have poured another glass of fizz!

At the time, there was no way I would have stopped drinking; why would I do that? I loved alcohol. It was fun, I relaxed, it gave me confidence, and I was just a normal drinker like everyone else I knew. To add to this, I was suspicious of people who didn’t drink, convinced that they must lead the most boring life, and I felt sorry for them.

I was suspicious of people who didn’t drink, convinced that they must lead the most boring life, and I felt sorry for them.

How wrong was I?! Fast forward to today, and I’ve realised that by choosing to eliminate this one thing in my life, everything has changed. This is the key, a secret if you will, that not many people realise (although the younger generation is certainly becoming wise to it). By ditching the booze, you open the door to a world of opportunities, possibilities and contentment - a world where you have a superpower!

In a society where alcohol is always there, you have a drink when you celebrate, when you commiserate, on a sunny day, on a snowy day, with your friends, with your colleagues, at home, on holiday, it’s impossible to imagine life without it and the thought of deciding, out of choice, to not drink seems ludicrous.

In a society where alcohol is always there, you have a drink when you celebrate, when you commiserate, on a sunny day, on a snowy day, with your friends, with your colleagues, at home, on holiday, it’s impossible to imagine life without it…

Alcohol is the only drug you have to justify not taking, which seems so bizarre to me now. Many people think if you are alcohol free full-time, there is something wrong with you, you must have hit rock bottom, or you’re just boring, and they pity you! The expectation is that to have a good time - in order to live - alcohol is a must.

The expectation is that to have a good time - in order to live - alcohol is a must.

I've been in the corporate world for over 20 years. I “checked all the boxes” of having a successful life but still felt like something was missing. Becoming alcohol free over three years ago unlocked my full potential, and I've been helping people see the benefits of quitting drinking, not as a “must” but as a choice and the positive impact it has on work, health, relationships and life overall.

I was only going to take a break from alcohol for 21 days, but by the time I got there, I said I would do the full month, then another and the rest is history. After my first month of not drinking alcohol, I really loved not waking up with a foggy head, I was calmer, more patient, able to concentrate more and not as anxious. I found that days felt longer and was determined not to waste them. I also had a realisation that if I could have a good alcohol-free drink, then why would I go back.

I was only going to take a break from alcohol for 21 days, but by the time I got there, I said I would do the full month, then another and the rest is history.

So, I can certainly attest that taking a break for a month does make a difference and who knows, you may decide to go beyond this.

Dry January® is an amazing initiative which helps thousands of people to take a break, but I know that for some people it's definitely not as simple as just deciding to stop and sticking to that decision. It's normal to have feelings of missing out or that you're depriving yourself of something when making such a big life change.

If this is you, why not look at this month as an experiment? Think about the reason or reasons you have decided to do this. Observe how you feel and change your perspective by thinking about what you are gaining along the way. If you go out, have alcohol-free alternatives and watch others during the evening to see what happens as they drink more. Notice the benefits you experience throughout the month. Journalling every day for five minutes or so is a great way to record your thoughts, reflect on how you are getting on and pause to take note. To get started, you can ask yourself the following:

  • What is one thing I want to remember today?
  • How did I feel today?
  • What am I grateful for today?

Observe how you feel and change your perspective by thinking about what you are gaining along the way.

As you capture and go back to these, you might begin to see alcohol differently as you watch the benefits stack up in your notes. Then, at the end of each week, make a note of the benefits you are seeing along the way and reflect on what you have been able to do without alcohol. (If writing isn’t your cup of tea, you could record a daily voice note on your smartphone of you answering the same questions as above). As you continue to look back, I’m sure you’ll be surprised about the things you’ve achieved or the situations you’ve handled without alcohol.

If you’ve decided to do Dry January®, you are definitely not missing out.

If you’ve decided to do Dry January®, you are definitely not missing out. In fact, it is a wonderful thing to do and a huge achievement. Be proud of yourself for saying you’ll do it. Get ready to enter a world where you remember your dreams and are brave enough to go after them.

Dupe Witherick is Founder of Thrive Alcohol Free Ltd and an Alcohol Free Wellbeing & Transformational Coach. She helps women who want to stop drinking, explore an alcohol-free lifestyle, so they thrive. She is also the Author of “A Cocktail of Clarity” and Host of the “Thrive Alcohol Free” podcast.

Find out more: