How To Observe Drynuary Politely

Me after a week

Have you heard of Drynuary? Admittedly it is a terrible portmanteau, but it is the act of not drinking for the entire month of January. It’s been around for a while and the reasons to participate are varied, and this year I decided to give it a shot. If anything, it’s a fun experiment in losing water weight while double checking that I can in fact decline a drink.

We’ve already talked about how not to be a dick to your sober friends, but in the few days I’ve participated in Drynuary I’ve noticed how incredibly easy it is to be smug about it. And oh MAN does being smug feel good. You can get drunk off your own superiority! But, like anything, it’s pretty rude to shove your choices into someone else’s face. So here are some tips on how to get through the month without being a jerk.

  1. Talk about it within reason. If you drink regularly, your drinking habits are bound to come up. Someone is bound to notice your refusal of booze at a party or that you’re only ordering Diet Coke with dinner. If you’re a woman, this may even be paired with the assumption that you’re pregnant, lucky you! You can always say “I don’t feel like drinking tonight,” and if you’re with someone you see often, you should feel free to say that you’re not drinking for the month. It’s quite possible you’ll get into a natural conversation about your motivations, but don’t start lecturing anyone. The concept of not drinking is not new, you don’t need to explain it.
  2. Literally no one cares what’s in your glass. I spent my first party of January (a post-NYE hangover party at a friend’s house, with bagels and Advil) drinking seltzer out of a red solo cup. Other people were drinking mimosas. I have to admit, it was very tempting to point out that I was doing Drynuary, either to explain that I wasn’t drinking for a reason, or I guess just to seem different. Neither are good looks. Probably no one noticed I was drinking seltzer, and if they assumed it was a gin and tonic that has no impact on me.
  3. Complaining! There are people who think complaining about any voluntary endeavor is annoying, and those people can die in a fire. Plenty of things we choose to do are also frustrating, like moving and learning how to apply liquid eyeliner and raising kids and keeping plants alive. Venting is necessary! So yes, if you find yourself really wishing you could pour yourself a glass of wine after a hard day at work, text your friends or tweet or instagram like “uuuuugh I wish this ginger ale were champagne.” However, be sure it’s not all you end up talking about. If you’re doing nothing but complaining, at that point you may as well not do it at all. (This goes for eyeliner and children as well.)
  4. Do not compare this to actual addiction and recovery. I have no idea about actual statistics, but I’m sure there have been some people who have tried Drynuary, had a really hard time, and it made them realize maybe they had more of an alcohol dependence than they realize and they sought help. It’s good when people seek help for addiction. The rest of us will likely be returning to a lifestyle that involves consuming alcohol come February 1, so do not act like giving up alcohol for a month is akin to entering rehab or some huge trial.
  5. On hosting. This may be a controversial stance, so please let me know if you feel differently! (Kindly.) If I’m invited to dinner at the home of someone I know doesn’t drink ever, I do not bring wine, nor do I expect to be offered any. If I’m invited to dinner at the home of someone I know isn’t drinking for a little bit, I maybe expect they’ll have some extra beer around I can finish. Maybe not, but if you’re hosting and you know your friends like to drink, provide.

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