Adele’s Dry January story: “Dry January has been much more fun than I expected”

Adele | December 2021 | 7 minutes

In this blog, Adele shares how she uses Dry January to reset her drinking in the new year and moderates year-round.

I’ve been drinking routinely for 40 years. I’m a social drinker with an active social life and I’ve always loved a binge, and I even quite enjoy hangovers for the way they slow my busy brain down. That’s a lot of alcohol over the years – in my 20s, 40 units in one week would not be so unusual. Fortunately, I’ve never struggled to stop drinking, but also I’ve always regularly self-monitored and had little drinking breaks, to ensure I was still in control. I’m actually really healthy, with a professional job, and a lot of interests.

Hearing a few years ago that alcohol increases the risk of cancer, and can affect brain power, changed my relationship with boozing.

Hearing a few years ago that alcohol increases the risk of cancer, and can affect brain power, changed my relationship with boozing. I’d only really thought about liver damage before then. So, for the past few years I’ve happily done dry Mondays, Tuesdays, and often dry Wednesday too, and monitored my units to hover around 20 a week, sometimes achieving the recommended limit of 14. I also did Dry January two years ago, to the surprise of my Friday night village pub drinking crew. I had some really nice conversations with people in the pub that month, sitting there with my alcohol-free drink whilst my partner got hammered!

I’m generally cheerful but have been struck by how my sense of humour has come out in me more

The thing I’d like to say about doing Dry January this year is I feel very uplifted in my mood, which is quite something in a January lockdown. I’m generally cheerful but have been struck by how my sense of humour has come out in me more - things my partner says making me laugh, me being much wittier than normal and seeing the funny side of things. Alcohol is a depressant, and certainly when I’ve had a few I tend to become quiet and sleepy, so maybe it’s that I’ve cut that out now. Whatever it is, this Dry January has been much more fun than I expected, and in this awful pandemic, I’m pleasantly surprised by that.

I enjoy drinking but I’m keen to moderate my alcohol consumption, so have had to come up with ways to cut my weekly units down. Some things I do are that I now very rarely drink at home whilst cooking dinner. Water with ice and lemon is lovely, and some herbal or spiced teas taste great, and are calorie free! In the pub, a pint of shandy is inconspicuous as it looks like a regular pint. Adding soda to wine reduces the units per glass whilst I still get to glug away. I tracked down a lower-ABV bottle of wine in the supermarket that tastes the same as normal-strength wine but has less units overall.

I might make Dry January an annual thing. It’s a good reality check in case I’m not as in control of my drinking as I thought I was, and it’s a helpful way to shed weight after eating so much all through Christmas.