Should I Be Worried I Have a Drinking Problem Because I Couldn't Stick With Dry January? | Ask the Rev. | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Should I Be Worried I Have a Drinking Problem Because I Couldn’t Stick With Dry January? 

Published January 17, 2024 at 10:00 a.m. | Updated January 17, 2024 at 10:14 a.m.

click to enlarge ID48935000 © RAUL BANCOD DREAMSTIME
  • ID48935000 © Raul Bancod Dreamstime

Dear Reverend,

Everybody I know is doing Dry January. I'd never heard of it before, but it seems like it's all the rage. I thought I'd give it a shot, but I fell off the wagon after only a week. Where did the idea come from, and why is it so popular? Should I be worried I have a drinking problem because I couldn't stick with it?

T. Totaler (man, 54)

Dear T. Totaler,

It's easy to swear off the booze when you wake up on New Year's Day with a raging hangover. But the next thing you know, you're at Taco Tuesday with some friends, ordering up a margarita. It can happen to the best of us.

Are there any other signs that you have a problem with alcohol? (Find a list at samhsa.gov/find-help/atod/alcohol, plus resources for rethinking your drinking.) If not, I don't think you need to be all that worried.

Dry January traces its history to 1942, when the Finnish government launched Sober January in order to conserve resources as part of the war effort. More recently, in 2011, a woman named Emily Robinson signed up for a half-marathon and decided to give up drinking for a month as part of her training. Long story short, she wound up working for an organization called Alcohol Change UK, which trademarked the term and built a whole campaign around it.

Since then, the idea has gained popularity around the globe. It's easy to see why: A lot of people feel like they need to take a break after overindulging from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve. It can be a way to jump-start a year of healthier habits. Many people find that they sleep better and drop a few pounds. Cutting back on cocktails is also a good way to save some money after a holiday spending spree.

However, if you're like me, you might want to try Dry January's more laid-back cousin, Damp January — which I find more suitable to one of the yuckiest months of the year, at least in Vermont. Make an effort to cut back, but don't beat yourself up if you want to occasionally tip back a tipple with your pals.

Good luck and God bless,

The Reverend

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The Reverend

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What's your problem? Need some irreverent counsel on life's conundrums? You can always just "Ask the Rev."

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