January 15, 2020
Here we are, roughly halfway through our first (and perhaps last) Dry January.
As you may have read elsewhere, Dry January started about seven years ago. According to the Christian Science Monitor:
The “Dry January” movement began in Britain seven years ago. The idea was to make the first month of the year a time to experiment with a life without alcohol. Another anti-drinking meme called Sober Curious extends the concept to any time of year.
I haven’t looked into Sober Curious, but W. and I agreed on Dry January during the last week of December. There was no particular reason for it; we drank a fair amount of wine in France from September to November, but we weren’t feeling any ill effects.
Our alcohol consumption has edged up over the years, though. When our children were young I don’t think we drank wine with dinner (I don’t remember many details from those days) and when we went out, I usually drank beer and W. had a vodka and tonic.
After we started going to France in 2007 we took an interest in wine and began trying different wines with dinner. We typically would ration ourselves to about two-thirds of a bottle — about eight ounces each, or a glass and a half — each night. We didn’t drink every night, but we did indulge in wine more and more frequently.
There is a lot of literature on alcohol and its effects on human health, but, overall, the consensus seems to be that alcohol isn’t good for you and the less you drink the better.
Then there are the calories: About 200 per night, multiplied by four or five times a week, is about four thousand calories a month or close to 50,000 calories a year. At about 3500 calories to the pound that’s more than 15 pounds that has to be accounted for, either through exercise or by not eating or drinking something else.
Then there’s the cost: About $25 per week, or $1200 per year. I don’t know if we will notice the savings but, like the calories, the money has to go somewhere.
So we took a Dry January pledge and, surprise, so far, so good. I can’t say that I really miss it, although I do get tired of explaining why I’m drinking club soda with a splash of cranberry juice instead of something more interesting.
Will we extend this into Dry February? No, I don’t think so. But I can see some sort of compromise whereby we only drink wine on weekends.
At the end of the day, none of this probably matters too much to our health and fitness. I do think it’s good, however, to test yourself a bit, especially as you get older. I’m glad we tried this experiment and I’m hoping to report a successful outcome in two weeks.