Rethinking Dry January: Embracing Balance and New Habits

Posted On January 15, 2024

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by Marilee Bramhall

As the New Year begins, many embark on the journey of Dry January, a month-long challenge to abstain from alcohol.

While the intentions behind this initiative are commendable, it’s essential to consider the potential downsides of this approach. In this blog post, we’ll explore why Dry January might not be the best idea and offer an alternative perspective that encourages balance and the adoption of healthier habits.  Please note: this blog post doesn’t address alcohol addiction; alcohol addiction is a serious illness.

One of the primary concerns with Dry January is its potential to foster unhealthy relationships with alcohol. This abrupt shift from festive celebrations in December to complete abstinence beginning January 1st can be challenging for many. The pressure to succeed can lead to feelings of failure after a single slip-up, resulting in needless self-criticism and discouragement.

The concept of Dry January revolves around the idea of sudden deprivation, stipulating that individuals go from one extreme to another. However, this all-or-nothing approach may not be conducive to long-term success. Rather than fostering a sustainable, healthy relationship with alcohol, it can lead to dangerous cycles of restriction and overindulgence, ultimately defeating the purpose of the challenge. For those who succeed with Dry January, many find themselves over-consuming in February.

Of course, wine is a big part of my life. I practice moderation year-round.  While I don’t drink every day, I taste all the time, which means I’m spitting out a lot of wine.  When I drink, I like to drink mindfully so that I’m fully engaged in the enjoyment and pleasure I’m experiencing from all of the elements in the glass.

The post-holiday season is an ideal time to lean into healthy habits without resorting to the deprivation that can make January a long, dreary month. Moderation extends beyond alcohol consumption and includes various aspects of life, such as exercise, screen time, and overall well-being. Rather than setting unattainable goals, why not allow yourself the space and grace to transition into new habits at a comfortable pace.

As the New Year unfolds, consider reevaluating the concept of Dry January and consider embracing a more balanced and sustainable approach. Rather than depriving yourself, consider focusing on moderation, as the Greek Poet Hesiod said, “…Moderation is best in all things.”

Written by Marilee Bramhall

Marilee Bramhall vividly remembers her first sip of wine; a left bank Bordeaux paired with a wonderful dinner prepared by her Dad. That single sip has led to a lifetime of curiosity and wonder. After nearly a decade in the WA and CA wine industry Marilee began her study of old-world wines. Over 15 years have passed since beginning this chapter of her career in wine which has included countless hours of study, travel and becoming a wine e-commerce entrepreneur: sourcing and importing organic and sustainably produced wines made by women from France and Italy for the Iola Wine Society Wine Clubs and online wine shop at iolawines.com Marilee has completed with the Highest Honors the certifications for French Wine Scholar and Italian Wine Scholar and earned the WSET Level 3 designation with Merit. In addition, Marilee has completed programs with the Bureau Interprofessionel des Vins De Bourgogne in Beaune, France: a Masterclass for Wine Educators and a Five- Day Bourgogne Wines Intensive Masterclass in Bourgogne, France.

Iola Wine Society

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