Dry January and Why Embracing It (Anytime) Could Transform Your Life

Have you heard of Dry January? It’s when people give up alcohol for the whole month of January. I know what you might be thinking – why would someone give up their favorite cocktails for a whole month? Well, I can tell you why I considered it. During the pandemic, when there was no morning commute or team Facetime, my schedule opened up, and I started drinking more frequently, not just on weekends. It became a nightly thing that I looked forward to.

dry january blog post. enjoying wine in positano

It was also a coping mechanism. After a long day of working from home and dealing with the stress of the pandemic, a perfectly chilled martini seemed like the perfect solution. I talked about it in this Diana Prince episode with Krystle George.

However, over the years, I realized that my little happy ritual had turned into a bad habit that I couldn’t control. I had tried to quit several times but always ended up starting again. I knew that my relationship with my cocktail was out of control. That’s when I decided that Dry January could be an excellent way to kick the habit and reestablish my relationship with drinking.

Let me back up a bit with some background on Dry January. Because I didn’t know it was a thing until my business colleague Jocelyn Martinez wrote a post about it. So, it started as a public health campaign in the UK in 2013 and has since gained worldwide popularity. The idea is to take a break from alcohol after the indulgent holiday season and to reassess your relationship with drinking. It’s not about labeling yourself as an alcoholic or swearing off alcohol forever – it’s simply about pressing the reset button and giving your body a break.

dry january. enjoying a martini in spain.

My Dry January Challenge and How I Made It Work

I was all set to travel with my husband in January, which is typically a cocktails-anytime-mindset. But after reading Jocelyn’s post I started considering my drinking again despite the trip. Plus, we were finishing up the Holiday festivities, where, of course, I indulged quite a bit at my son’s house and had the hangover from hell the next day.

By the time we boarded the flight, I was already thinking about how to flip the switch on my typical drinking vacation mode to make it healthier for myself. We were already set to eat healthier during our vacation by consciously making better choices, so cutting back on drinking only made sense. The biggest challenge was our old ways of thinking. We’re both from the nine-to-five culture, so vacation always meant letting go for us, and that meant drinking more.

I could’ve just told myself that I’ll do Dry January when I get back from my trip. “Why mess with my trip?” But then I would have wasted the opportunity. The seed was already planted. All I had to do was move in that direction. The door was open, all I had to do was walk through it and give a shot. And I knew it wasn’t going to be perfect, but taking it on while traveling is as good as time as any.

wine in the maldives. dry january blog post.

Dry January Helped Me Flip the Switch

My husband and I started out the new year in Costa Rica with the same fanfare as any of our trips — ending with dinner and drink, of course. But somewhere in the middle of it, it’s like I willed a sour taste in my vodka. It was having a Saturday night cocktail in Santa Teresa, and it was like a switch went off — I didn’t enjoy it, and I was done. The next day, I poured the bottle down the sink and didn’t drink vodka for the rest of the trip.

I wasn’t completely dry, but damp. By the time we were in the Mexico City part of our trip, I was occasionally indulging in a beer or a good glass of wine, but I was one-and-done, and I was progressing. By the time I was home, I was completely dry and I continued from there. My Dry January happened mid-way January and continues through today.

And as the weeks went by, I started to notice drastic changes. For one, I was sleeping better. Without alcohol in my system, I was able to fall asleep more quickly and stay asleep throughout the night. And let me tell you, waking up feeling refreshed and clear-headed was a game-changer.

Another thing I noticed was that I had more energy. I didn’t realize how much alcohol was affecting my energy levels until I went without it for a while. I found myself being more productive during the day and even having the motivation to start working out again. It was like a fog had lifted, and I could see things more clearly.

The Benefits of Controlling Your Drinking

But the most surprising thing about Dry January was how it affected my confidence. Going an entire month without something I had come to rely on made me feel like I could take on any challenge. If I could do this, what else was I capable of? It was like a switch had been flipped in my brain, and suddenly, I was open to trying new things and pushing myself out of my comfort zone.

I am proud to say that I have successfully completed Dry January (February for me), and as of the date of this post, it has been two months and going strong. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only did it help me overcome my pandemic martini habit, but it also gave me a newfound sense of confidence and empowerment. Now, I feel more determined and stronger to take on new challenges, like learning a new skill or tackling a big project at work, as I have the strength and determination to see them through.”

So, if you’re on the fence about trying Dry January (or any month), I say go for it. You might be surprised at what you discover about yourself along the way. And who knows, you might just come out of it feeling like a total badass, ready to take on whatever life throws at you. Cheers to that!

About Angela Acosta & the Atelier

Based in New Jersey, Angela Acosta specializes in personal branding and portrait photography for women business owners and professionals in New York and the tri-state area. She expertly channels brand narratives through tailored images, offering insights on wardrobe and styling to ensure authenticity. With a deep commitment to capturing the essence of each client, Angela transforms branding with impactful photographs that resonate and inspire. Contact us to schedule your complimentary consultation.