top of page
  • Writer's pictureJD Grantham

A Month of No: My Dry January Journey

As December's festive cheers and celebrations faded into the rearview, I embarked on a personal challenge gaining popularity worldwide: Dry January. The premise is simple—abstain from alcohol for the entire month of January. I thought I would rope someone into it, but then decided, why not try it myself? So here is my expert #TRN perspective.

While not a massive partaker of alcoholic drinks at my age, with some viewpoints being that Dry January is only for serious drinkers, I wanted to see what kind of benefits there were to "just saying no." There were quite a few, to be honest.

Chalkboard sign for Dry January; Trusted Referral Newtwork

The Origins of Dry January

This initiative, which began as a public health campaign by Alcohol Change UK in 2013, aims to encourage people to rethink their relationship with alcohol, observe its impact on their health, and potentially reset their drinking habits.

That said, researchers from the National Cancer Institute said in a commentary published in the American Association for Cancer Research Journal that "Even with full information regarding the cancer harms of drinking, many will certainly continue to imbibe. Nevertheless, increased awareness could result in people making more informed decisions about their alcohol consumption."

Week 1: The Adjust

The first week was a test of willpower. Social gatherings were the hardest, especially since my boyfriend is a musician, and I go to his shows to support him (and check that off my list of allotted social encounters for the month). So where I'd usually have a cocktail handy while swaying to the sounds of Billy Joel, I now stood with sparkling water or good old reliable (but filtered) tap. 

Surprisingly, the urge to drink socially during these outings diminished after the first time. Even with all my friends' questions on why I was doing it, I stood firm. This week taught me the value of discipline and the power of habit. Physically, I noticed a slight increase in energy levels, especially in the mornings. Less yawning, more pep to my step.

Week 2: Bring on the Clarity

By the second week, my sleep quality improved significantly, leading to more energetic mornings and a sharper focus throughout the day. Sure, I am still suffering from the occasional yawning, but talk about a revelation: the direct correlation between alcohol consumption and sleep quality became unmistakably clear. I also started experimenting with non-alcoholic alternatives, especially fizzy ones, like Canda Dry's Ginger Ale - finding joy in discovering how I could play around with flavors beyond the alcoholic spectrum. 

Seriously, their variety pack is legit. What is incredible is how many choices are out there for non-alcoholic drinks. 

Closeup of people toasting drinks; Trusted Referral Network

However, many experts state that mocktails are a slippery slope for some who are trying to cut alcohol out, but that factors down to drinking habits. If you have a severe alcohol disorder, then stay away from anything that could trigger a relapse. And do remember that there are other things to consider with non-alcoholic drinks, such as:

  • It can be high in sugars and sweeteners

  • They could have many caffeine additives

  • The addition of vitamin additives could be overkill

Week 3: Physical and Mental Benefits

As I entered the third week, the benefits compounded. I saw a noticeable improvement in skin hydration, and the overall healthy complexion was a welcome surprise. With a serious skincare routine and being blessed with good genetics (thanks, Mom and Dad), having that added boost to my epidermis was nice. 

Another thing I observed was how much my mood stabilized, with my mid-afternoon slumps becoming less frequent. This allowed me to reflect on why and when I chose to drink, leading to some insightful revelations about my drinking habits and their motivations.

Check out some of the other benefits of this video from PBS News Hour.

Week 4: Final Home Stretch

As this final week approached, what initially seemed daunting now felt like a new norm. But what a long month (I am almost convinced there are actually 60 days in January). I can say with true confidence that the absence of alcohol no longer felt like a sacrifice but a choice for well-being. Socializing without the crutch of alcohol revealed a newfound confidence in my interactions and helped me develop a better sense of my boundaries. I didn't feel obligated by the social norms of having to "have a drink." 

I felt physically healthier, happier, and mentally more resilient.

Beyond Dry January

Dry January, beyond just a month-long challenge, offered me a renewed perspective on alcohol and its role in my life. The journey wasn't as harrowing as I thought or that big of a bummer. It was enlightening, highlighting the tangible benefits of reducing alcohol consumption. 

This article isn't about vilifying alcohol but understanding its effects and making better-informed choices for myself. And hopefully for you, too, dear reader. As February is upon me, I'm armed with a deeper awareness and a renewed commitment to moderation, recognizing that the most significant benefits come from balance.

This experience, shared by many others, reminds us of the power of taking a break, reassessing our habits, and the positive transformations that can follow. Whether it's Dry January or any other month, the journey towards improved health and mindfulness is always worth the effort.


Don't miss out on the latest wellness word-of-mouth. Subscribe to Trusted Referral Network today.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page