Screw Your Dry January
Hello, Betera’s resident party girl here (AKA I’m one of the company’s advisors) 🎉
When the co-founders embarked on a Dry January at the beginning of 2021 and invited me to join, I was reluctant.
I have done a Dry January before. I was not keen on doing Dry January again. I don’t drink that much, I reasoned. I already had a couple of ski trips planned and I didn’t feel like missing out on the après-ski beverages. Plus, my birthday is in January, ok?
“There’s never a good time to start,” Aaron, one of the co-founders, said to me. “There’s always going to be a reason not to do it.”
He was correct, but also wrong. He’s right about there always being an excuse not to give up drinking for a month — but I believe I discovered a better 30-day window than Dry Jan.
And that window for me was Feb 15 - March 15. If you’re paying attention, that’s the day after Valentine’s Day to right before St. Patrick’s Day. Look, it’s a shame these holidays are reduced to thinly veiled excuses to publicly and excessively drink, but that’s a larger and different conversation. I found this time frame to be a great window to abstain from alcohol. Which leads me to my point: Maybe January isn’t the right time for you either, but every social drinker should try taking a booze sabbatical. It could be this month. Or it could be 30 random days between social events on your calendar. The key to surviving a Dry Challenge is having a solid back-up beverage. Tea is great, but not so fun during a warm day. I do like kombucha, but many brands have a ton of sugar—upwards of 28g—making it not ideal to consume multiple in an evening. I can suck down seltzer at an alarming rate, but when everyone else is rocking a colorful cocktail, it’s not the most fun. Enter Betera: 16 calories, 4g of sugar, it tastes sophisticated like something you’d find a mixologist slinging in a speakeasy and looks cool as hell. Take Betera to a party and I bet most people will assume you’re drinking a tasty adult beverage, which in a way, you are (minus the hangover).
You’ve probably read about the benefits of giving up alcohol, like clear skin and weight loss. So I’m not going to talk about those, even though they are very real. Instead, here are some lesser talked about benefits I observed while giving up drinking for a month.
IT'S A SURPRISINGLY GREAT ICE-BREAKER
I was working as a producer on a music video and the topic came up when I was chatting with my Assistant Director after the shoot. I told him about my Dry Challenge and he said he had a “dry rule” himself: He only drank when he traveled outside of the country. Clever, and…I couldn’t help but wonder what those International trips are like! Working on any film set you are usually on your feet for long hours and for several days. It’s physical and draining. So you bet I was grateful I didn’t have to reckon with a hangover on top of that. But also it gave me something to talk about with others. I found that most people were interested in what I was doing and had something to contribute rather than being judgmental about it.
WATCHING OTHER PEOPLE DRINK IS GOOD (FUN) FOR SELF-AWARENESS
I’m the bigger drinker out of my duo. Seeing my partner drunk is a rarity, so my break from booze gave me the opportunity to see drunk people through sober eyes. My boyfriend is a great Spanish speaker but he's generally reserved about this skill outside of Spanish speaking countries. One night after my friend’s Dad made him a couple of his signature stiff Mai Tais, he went full on Duolingo at a Mexican restaurant we had dinner at. If I hadn’t been sober, I may not have gotten to appreciate the show. It was fun for me, but of course he was a little embarrassed the next day. Let me tell you, the absence of feeling embarrassed is also quite underrated.
THE JOY OF A CHEAPER BRUNCH OR DINNER TAB
Cocktails are expensive. And they are way too expensive at restaurants. Cutting out rounds of mimosas or spicy margs will save you a meaningful amount of cash. Which you can pocket, or use towards another appetizer or dessert. Not to mention the calories you save when cutting out drinks. Even the lowest calorie drinks, like a hard seltzer, is around 100 calories.
If I could impart one last nugget of wisdom about my experience for anyone considering going dry for an extended period of time, it would be this: You may not fully realize the myriad of ways that cutting alcohol for a month benefits you until…you have a drink again. Did I notice I was sleeping better, feeling clear, and improving my stamina during those 30 days? I wasn’t so sure. But I was very sure after St. Patrick’s Day that not drinking did all of those things. So go ahead, take the plunge even if you feel you don’t need to. Even if you don’t want to. Say screw Dry Jan and make up one of your own.
Monica Fineis is a freelance Brand Director based in Venice, CA.