Dry January, or Drynuary (or #drynuary, if you're parading it on Twitter), is pretty much the worst. And yet? Year after year after year, people willingly -- even gleefully! -- participate in the ritualized abstention from alcohol for the first month of the calendar year.
I'm one of them. And I love it. Here's why, along with answers to the questions that everyone asks to help you along the way, should you decide that this is the year you're going to participate in this folly.
WHY would you do this to yourself?!
The most important thing to know about Drynuary is that it's a choice. No one is making anyone do anything; it's an entirely opt-in venture. Given that, why would anyone choose not to drink, especially during the first month of the year, which is long, and (depending on where you live) cold, and distinctly lacking in daylight, and offers a lot of televised sporting events to enjoy while drinking many beers?
The reasons are different for everyone, but some common threads are that it's a challenge, and successfully completing a challenge is a good way to start a new year off on the right foot. There's a bit of spirituality to it for some people, akin to a Lenten fast. For many people, a month without booze has a clarifying effect that can help to offset some of the emotional haze that can occur during the holidays.
Don't forget about the Smug Factor
In my case, much of the above drives my love of Drynuary, but the biggest thing I get out of it is the feeling of a post-holiday cleanse. I don't love the holidays! I endure the holidays -- I find them stressful and tiring and incredibly overwhelming, and far too often my instinct is to reach for a homemade cookie someone has offered, or to have that extra glass of wine. By the time New Year's Eve rolls around I feel sick, groggy, and bloated, and desperately crave a carrot that hasn't been drowned in butter and sugar. Drynuary reverses all of that.
There's one more thing, and at the risk of sounding overly virtuous I have to tell you that it's not really my thing, but it is a BIG thing for many, many people: the Smug Factor. It's exactly what it sounds like, and hey, if feeling superior to your pals is a thing you get off on, consider Drynuary, because hoo boy, can people ever get smug about not drinking for a few weeks.