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What is Dry January?

by Michael Phillips

What is Dry January?

Please note, this article is not aimed at those with alcohol addiction/dependency. Specialist advice for this can be found at and

What is Dry January?

Dry January is a month where many people choose to  abstain from alcohol for a variety of reasons. 

Why no alcohol?

Christmas and New Years parties, family gatherings and (often) more free time tend to lead many to drink more alcohol than usual. By January, many feel the need to detox themselves a bit and reclaim a more healthy way of being.

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Does detox work?

Abstaining from over indulgance is of course a good thing, and sustaining this over 4 weeks can lead to beneficial habits. For example, reaching for an alcoholic beer, spirit or glass of wine at the end of a bad day at work can become an all too familiar pick-me-up. Within a short time your brain has associated alcohol with stress-relief and you can start to crave it. A month out of this cycle and you have to find other ways, hopefully more beneficial, to relieve stress. Are you 'detoxing'? Not really. Where alcohol is concerned, this is a term that should really be reserved for those going through the difficult process of reducing dependancy. But you are being healthier, more productive and helping reduce risk of dependency.

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Where do non-alcoholic beverages fit in to Dry January?

The ever increasing range of quality NABs means that you and I can still enjoy the taste, without the harmful effects. Many people across the world, including myself, are now almost exclusively drinking NABs and loving the lack of negative side effects. The comparitively low calories in many is an added bonus! 

What are non-alcoholic beverages?

Europe and the US consider 0.5% or less alcohol as non-alcoholic, and the UK is considering adopting this also (currently 0.05%). Often, they are made in a similar way to alcoholic drinks, but through processes such as reverse osmosis or vacuum distillation the alcohol is then removed. Due to the additional processes required, non-alcoholic drinks can be more expensive to produce and whilst not all brewers and manufacturers have managed to keep the flavours, many have. it should be said that many non-alcoholic spirits never go near alcohol at all, and some boast of containing zero calories.

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Final thoughts

1) Try, try and try again. 

You may have been put off in the past by non alcoholic substitues that really didn't deliver. However, things are getting better...much better. Read reviews, try some out and you may find yourself actively avoiding alcohol in favour of NAB alternatives.

2) Ask the question

It all boils down to this question - 'why do you drink?'  If the answer isn't 'to get drunk' then there a a whole world of NABs out there just waiting for you to discover. If those clever drinks chemists can remove the alcohol and still find a way of carrying the flavour, why drink alcohol at all?

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