Dry January means “dry January” – our editor also wants to do without alcohol for a month. How she (not always) succeeds and what she learns from it.

No alcohol for a month. That’s what my boyfriend and I decided to do this January. And we are not alone in this. More and more people are trying “Dry January” and voluntarily abstaining from alcohol for a month. Easy? Unfortunately not. A field report.

In the video above you can see: This is what happens in the body when you give up alcohol

I’m a social drinker. Wine is part of an evening with my friends like gin and tonic is part of going to a club, and we like to have a bottle or two of vino brought to us from the Italian shop around the corner. I never drink alone. I find relaxation with a book or a Netflix series – preferably with a cup of tea. So a month shouldn’t be a problem, right?

As it turns out: yes. At least the beginning is bumpy. My aunt celebrates her birthday big on January 7th. She invites all her guests to great food and selected wines. Instead of the welcome champagne, I still choose the non-alcoholic version (unfortunately it doesn’t taste good). But when Riesling is served with the meal, I can’t resist. Crap, only seven days around and already sinned. Only two glasses, but I’m still annoyed.

Even in everyday life, I suddenly notice how often I think about alcohol: We go to the beach volleyball hall with friends, then have a nice meal afterwards. Beverages? Alcohol-free cocktails – not bad, but wine tastes better to me. After all: Our friends also stay dry in January, so we can complain together – and persevere. After the meal, however, we forego the usual visit to the bar. Ordering only non-alcoholic drinks there would seem strange to us. But why actually?

I also notice that I limit myself unnecessarily. We usually celebrate beautiful moments in a restaurant and toast there. So, after booking a trip to Africa (our honeymoon!), we would normally go out for a fancy meal. But we’d rather postpone it until February – then we can also order wine.

Crazy how much alcohol is suddenly present and how much more you want it, my friend agrees. Incidentally, he has not sinned so far and survived his birthday alcohol-free.

Then comes the ultimate test – for me in the form of an evening with my friends. We tend to order food, drink wine, and philosophize late into the night about life (or our jobs, relationships, celebrity couples, or that next raise). Along the way, more and more wine flows, which (and I’m not proud of the thought) often takes the conversation to an even deeper level. Will I hold out?

So that it is not so difficult, I fill my wine glass with water. Better to toast and the feeling of drinking remains similar. And indeed, the evening is funny, serious, even tears flow from my girlfriend. Conclusion: Sober, just like always!

And I suddenly catch myself thinking: I’ll still be fine tomorrow. No hangover, no headache, no nausea. Instead of a hangover-suffering day on the couch, we can go into town and do something. Yeah!

Other positive side effects are also noticeable: My skin is clearer and I sleep better and, above all, more deeply! The next morning I feel more rested.

A frequent side effect, which I cannot assess in the self-test due to the lack of scales: the pounds also tumble. Alcohol has a hell of a lot of calories. For example, three glasses of wine have more calories than a piece of marzipan cake and three beers as many as a medium-sized portion of fries. It is even clearer with cocktails, for example a caipirinha is as powerful as currywurst with ketchup.

By the way, I haven’t heard any stupid jokes (so far). However, I always avoid the classic “Are you pregnant?!” by telling me about my “Dry January”.

However, this also directly shows the big problem: I feel in need of explanation. Why do so many people ask indignantly, “What, you do NOT drink alcohol? Pregnant? Boring? Dry?” And not: “Why do you drink, although 20,000 people in Germany die from alcohol consumption every year? And 1.6 million are addicted to alcohol?”

Don’t worry, I’m not going to be the alcohol-prohibiting moralizer here. For me, a good glass of wine remains a piece of quality of life, with which one can dream of Italy and France so beautifully. However, one or two glasses are enough; and evenings with friends are beautiful, funny and profound even without alcohol.

What also has to change – for me and in society – is the implicitness with which (too much) alcohol is consumed. Often without even thinking about the dangers. As a result, many people become addicted to alcohol without even realizing it.

Are you drinking too much? Here’s the alcohol self-test

The stupid sayings that alcohol abstinent people have to listen to should finally stop. After all, they live healthier, longer and probably even more attractive.

My recommendation: dare a “dry month” yourself and test how it feels, how well you can cope with it and how the environment reacts.

Oh yes: I have decided to extend “Dry January” to at least mid-February. Let’s see how I can do that.