Each time the new year rolls around we all come together and decide what our new year’s resolutions are going to be from self-care to exercise, many people take the new year as a fresh start to do the things we have always wanted to do. One trend I see most frequently is the phenomenon of ‘Dry January’. This means that for the month of January the participant does not drink any alcohol and opts for a different approach to their socialising. According to Cormac Healy (The director of Drinks Ireland) “overall consumption continues to fall in Ireland, down by around 33% in 20 years.” With Healy also making reference to the trend of young people contributing greatly to this reduction. This is a positive for us as a society but the question is how and why are people reducing their alcohol consumption?
My first concern about participating in Dry January (or even extending it to dry 2023?) would be dealing with all of the questions that my friends would have “Are you on antibiotics?, “Would you not just have one?”, “Are you pregnant?” People assume the worst, you stick out like a sore thumb. This generally stems from their own insecurities around alcohol consumption, maybe they wouldn’t want you (a sober person) to see their inebriated antics and most of all you could recall said antics.
However, with the rise of Dry January, these pressures might start to alleviate as more and more are participating in life outside of alcohol. I am seeing more and more instagram stories of ‘sober Saturdays’ and ‘fresh Sundays’ where people are opting to stay in with their friends or significant others and then going for a swim, hike, coffee walk on a Sunday. I enjoy seeing this because often as a country we feel that all there is to do is drink and regret drinking the next morning. These pioneers are showing us that there is a world out there outside of this habit and we can spend our time off in various different ways without getting ‘the fear’ on a Sunday.
With this increase of sober weekends, I would love to see more facilities be integrated into our communities to promote this type of lifestyle. Of course, we all enjoy nights out in the city where we end up out all night. However, it is not something that I personally would like to do every weekend but oftentimes I feel pressured to do so as; What else is there to do? To allow dry January to change to dry March, April, May etc, we need to see an influx of late night cafés in the city, safe outdoor facilities for sports, walks etc and overall a more alive country past 6pm.