In the interests of full disclosure, I must start by pointing out that I have never been a big drinker. Light weight, cheap date – call it what you like, I have always been more than happy with a glass of bubbles, maybe two. And on the occasions that I have pushed it (21st parties, my hen weekend, a notable welcome home party for an adventurous friend), I have bitterly regretted it the next day. So, when January rolls round and I proudly announce I am going dry, it’s not a massive sacrifice.
However, even I, as a moderate drinker have noticed the slightly wearied look on the faces of friends when I turn down the Pinot Noir in favour of my 30th glass of elderflower, or even a good old cup of tea. It seems that on some level it is viewed as socially unacceptable, or at least a bit dull to go it sober, for a month or longer. (don’t even start me on not drinking in pregnancy and the amount of times I felt compelled to justify it.)
But isn’t this message entirely juxtaposed with the movement towards healthy living, clean eating, self-care, and most importantly self-determination. So, as way of justification, somewhat reluctantly, here are my reasons for going dry this Jan, and why I think they are anything but dull.
Firstly, is focus. The new year for me always means a renewed focus on my goals and resetting my intentions for the year. I am balancing work, with writing and being a mummy and in truth I just find this easier to do with a clear head.
Then there is finance. There is something rewarding about knowing you are saving the cocktail fund for something a little longer lasting. In the next few weeks my eye will start to wander to a spring wardrobe refresh and knowing I’ve been well behaved in January will ease the guilt when I hit the shops.
Stepping away from boozy nights out opens your social diary in a way you can’t imagine. Instead of cramming all my social engagements between 7-12pm as in December, I find myself planning brunch with friends, workout meet-ups with other mummys and signing up for events that will broaden my horizons for the year ahead. It feels strange to say it, but there is more to life than partying….
I am also trying out new places in my new abstemious state. The delicious mocktails at London’s latest ‘dry bar’ Redemption in Notting Hill, take on new appeal, and I plan to spend my next date night catching a late-night viewing of Beyond Caravaggio before it closes at the National Gallery.
And finally, and it’s a biggie, there is the health angle. Frankly after a month of festive partying and tipsy celebrations, my body needs a rest. I love a glass of red, but I am also loving a fresh complexion, bright eyes and fitting in to my pre-party jeans. It’s all about balance and sometimes you need to redress those scales.
If the thought of giving up alcohol, or anything else for that matter doesn’t appeal, then I am the last person to judge, but if like me you are choosing to spend January on the sober side of the scale, then rest assured we are anything but dull. In fact if you ask me, finding sociable alternatives to happy hour is what all the cool kids are doing.