I appreciate Dry January is undoubtedly a good thing. After much consideration, however, I've decided I'm not on board. Hear me out.
1. January is dreadful.
So bitter and dark, it could be easily mistaken for a Jose Mourinho press conference, it’s a month cruelly devoid of the decadence that December boasts to make the cold misery even vaguely bearable.
Still lightyears away from the clocks going forward, littered with the existential dread that another notch on the belt of Father Time evokes, plus the nightmare of having to listen to other people deluding themselves aloud that they’re any less slovenly and feckless than at every other point in their lives - January is absolutely minging.
Why then, would you compound all that with self-imposed abstinence? It’s like breaking down on the side of the motorway and, rather than call the AA, making the conscious decision to throw your mobile into a nearby lake. Madness, I tell you.
2. You’ll only find another vice.
A friend of mine successfully did a month sans grog last year. Fair play, bravo. He also wilfully turned into Bez at the peak of his powers, filling his weekends with a job lot of illicit decadence to fill the void.
Is that any better? I mean health wise. Like, maybe sort of? But also, definitely not.
Crucially, it produced the sensational sight of a man channelling his inner Super Hans - eyes rolled back in his head, visibly vibrating from head to toe and performing spectacular acrobatics with his jaw, sincerely informing people at a house party just how good he currently feels for being three weeks off the sauce. Superb stuff.
It’s pretty clear that, as a species, we’ll always find something potentially destructive to ingest in a futile bid to briefly lift the drudgery of existence. For better or worse, that is our jam.
Knowing this, it’s probs best to stick to the government approved methods of hedonism.
Sure, with the right volumes you’ll still find yourself chatting untold bollocks to complete strangers in a dingy smoking area. Just it’ll be midnight, rather than 8 am and the subsequent chemical recalibration of your body will take 1 day rather 3.
3. It’s barely cheaper.
Few things boil my piss quite like choosing a soft drink only to realise I foolishly forgot to murder my parents in a bid to free up some much-needed inheritance before heading out.
Three or four hours at the bar spent drinking soft drinks can be just as financially ruinous as a boozy session.
Why? Here’s a quick lesson on the ins and outs of pub finances – steep taxes on booze (that supermarket giants can afford to suck up, thus keeping alcohol cheap in shops), forces pubs to look for mark-ups elsewhere in a bid to keep their own hooch even vaguely competitive.
It depends on the venue’s ownership model but it’s possible that your favourite bar could actually be making a loss on every single pint of beer they sell. Things like soft drinks and posh bar snacks often pick up the slack.
Even armed with that knowledge, the price of softies still does my tits in. Paying north of £3.00 for a coke or lemonade is tough enough but shelling out the same for a lime and soda is actually insane. In what other scenario would you fork out for something that has a 29,900%* mark up on it.
* FYI, genuinely not a joke number.
I can’t propose any answers to this problem beyond ‘less tax on pubs’ but it’s still annoying. See also – veggie dishes costing no less than meat-heavy mains. Unless the spice lord himself, Ainsley Harriot, knocked up that 3-bean chilli, I’m at loss as to how it’s only 50p cheaper than the literal Burj Khalifa of burger meat my pal ordered.
Anyway, I digress.
As a tight-fisted Yorkshireman, hardwired since birth to sniff out value, inflated prices for soft drinks give you little reason not to drink something harder if you’re ever on the fence as you approach the bar.
4. Dates get weirder.
Whilst I’ve yet to go on a truly car crash first date yet, there’s a general pattern to their progression if successful. This is especially true if it’s someone you've never met before.
The initial drink is characterised by enthusiastic, if shallow and occasionally stilted chatter as you both reach for whatever crumbs of commonality you have. There’s lots of forced laughter about things that both of you will later admit neither found funny.
By round two, the relaxing effects of the first have put you both marginally more at ease and you start to dig into the areas of shared interest.
By drink three things are bubbling along nicely and by four you’re soulmates – stridently agreeing on the criminally underappreciated fact that ‘Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure’ was the creative high watermark of Keanu Reeves’ long and storied career.
Hitting the four-drink point is a key marker in a successful first date – things have gone well enough to necessitate a second meeting, whilst the steady amount of booze means both of you will forget enough of what was discussed to ensure plenty of conversational ammo for next time.
Imagine tackling that completely sober – spending three hours both repeatedly stating how great potato smileys were before leaving in silence. Probably.
Either way, a chilling prospect.
5. Health benefits are wasted on winter.
“One of the great things about ditching the booze is just how much weight you shed.”
How many times have you heard people littering the air with that wan consolation?
And whilst there’s undoubtedly truth to it, unfortunately, it’s entirely wasted effort.
Why? Because there is nothing in the UK more pointless than owning a belting beach bod in SHITTING FEBRUARY.
By Valentine’s Day, the marginally superior physique you painstaking carved out with a month of dreary abstinence will have prolapsed, hissing, back into its pasty, schlubby norm.
If you’re going to put yourself through such a slog, at least make sure you reap some tangible reward for your efforts. Do it in May when you can actually flaunt the results. I mean, if you’re not enduring that misery for the external validation of people you’d one day like to have sex with, what are you doing it for?
Saving money for a deposit? Long-term health benefits? Personal satisfaction?
PAH! Good one mate.
6. Think of the rest of us.
It’s recently been proved that during January in London, you’re never more than 6 feet away from someone who’s briefly paused their risibly unsustainable clean-living regime to tell you about it.
If there’s one thing more boring than someone not attending social events because they’re off the sauce, it’s them turning up and having nothing to talk about bar how they’re currently off the sauce. An infinite loop of hellish consequences.
Don’t be that guy.
7. No enough pubs sell Orangina.
It’s the Royals Royce of the drinks fridge. You’re certified bozo if you think otherwise.
SO WHY DOES NO ONE SELL IT?
8. It’s frightful craic for people born in January.
Come on, those guys would sacrifice their left nut/ovary to come and get loose on your birthday.
Don't leave your best mates high and dry as they commemorate their steady march towards the grave.
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N.B. Despite this article’s exaggerated title and the author’s personal view, Alcohol Concern raises plenty of money for hugely worthy causes and does a fantastic job highlighting key issues around responsible drinking. If you are in any way worried about your relationship with alcohol or want advice on cutting down check out their website.