“Emptiness is loneliness,
and loneliness is cleanliness,
and cleanliness is godliness,
just like me.
…INTOXICAAAAAAATED! WITH THE MADNESS…”
Dry January, or Sober January, or #DrySoberJanuary, or however you like to say it, is beyond stupid. It’s a comically insipid, awareness-lacking, mouthbreather’s celebration of our most inane obsessions, with euphemistic five-cent pseudohealth buzzwords-as-ideas like #wellness and #mindfulness. Dry January is the analog to binge drinking—binge-sobering, for people who must do things in extremities, and also, for Instagram. It helps cultivate a wildly unhealthy obsession with purity that dates back to the most religious and outmoded ideas about how we should feel about ourselves. And so much more!
Maybe you’re familiar with it? If not, know that the name is the only good thing about Dry January, because Dry January is exactly as dumb as it sounds: A “social campaign” (or whatever) to stay sober for, you guessed it, the entirety of January. Part of Dry January is also encouraging your friends to do the same, because peer pressure always works out well when it comes to drinking. In this respect, Dry January and Butt-Chugging are philosophically related acts.
The Dry January campaign started, in some official capacity, via UK-based nonprofit Alcohol Concern. Which makes complete sense—of course it comes from the British, who regularly produce some of the greatest, most vulgar, completely uninhibited drunks in the world. Do you know how many hilarious terms for “shitfaced” the British have? According to the BBC, 141. Some perennial favorites: Pissed, bluttered, taggered, sozzled, rendered, and of course, cunted. Even today, England’s cultural devotion to getting disastrously turnt remains so extraordinary that when captured in a candid moment, it’s compared across the Internet to renaissance art. Do you know why all the pubs in London close at 11? Because everyone’s so goddamn piggly-washed on “pints” that they can’t even make it to midnight. Not hard to see why they’d think Dry January is a good idea! Too bad they’re wrong. They’re more wrong about Dry January than they are about Mr. Bean being funny, and they’re pretty fucking wrong about that one.
“Dry January is the analog to binge drinking—binge-sobering, for people who must do things in extremities, and also, for Instagram.”
The most immediate, obvious, and stupid harm to the world Dry January perpetuates is that it’s insulting to people who are, you know, actually sober. Good health is about moderation, and sobriety is about fighting a disease. Anyone who has gone through twelve steps, or rehab, or whatever got them clean, they are constantly in a state of recovery. Such is the nature of addiction.
#weightloss #weightlossjourney #weightwatchers #dryjanuary #onplan #gymtime #letsgetfit #letsgetskinny A photo posted by Carrie Louise Fawcett (@cazfaw1215_ww) on
They don’t have the luxury of moderation—sobriety isn’t a switch they can flick on and off. This goes without mentioning people who aren’t yet truly sober, who have an actual problem with drinking, who may exacerbate that drinking problem by attempting Dry January. Which, yes, has happened. The way that works, in short: The idea that a month of sobriety represents control is a dangerous illusion to people who genuinely lack control. Also, did we mention how acute withdrawal from regularly excessive drinking can cause seizures and hallucinations? Surprise! That snake of a friend who pressured you into Dry January is a friend, and not, you know, an actual snake. Hopefully.
“Dry January, and all the hashtag and Equinox class packages and lame-ass mocktail specials that come along with it is nothing more than a month-long version of the lie that yuppy lushes sell each other every time they toggle between benders and juice cleanse throughout the year.”
But I just want to feel clean, you might protest. There’s a sense of purity involved in doing something like this togeth—and I’d stop you right there, at “purity,” the great religious ideal. You know who did a great job spreading ideas about purity through history? Religious zealots. You know what else religious zealots are responsible for? The Spanish Inquisition. Talk about binging: Those guys went on an absolute tear converting/torturing/killing people who didn’t subscribe to their ideas about purity. Purity drives are bad for obvious reasons. Basically what I’m saying is that Dry January is the first step on the path to becoming a eugenics-obsessed genocidal maniac. Enjoy that. I know I won’t.
Speaking of which, there is also the “enjoyment” to be had from those practicing Dry January, for those of us who do not: They are goddamn insufferable for the entirety of the first month of the year. As if returning to work isn’t bad enough, now you get to return to a bunch of people talking about their “skin glow” around the watercooler, too.
“The crossover between #DryJanuary participants and people who Instagram their spirulina grain bowls/people who go to SoulCycle or Crossfit/people who go to Coachella for their yearly molly bender isn’t a venn diagram so much as it is a single circle.”
These people also act as if they’ve got a Flake Out Of Social Engagements Free Pass we are ethically obliged to acquiesce to whenever a conflict arises, like we all don’t know that shit’s selective—you bailed on plans you had for three months not because the sight of a merlot will make you crumble, but because you’re on episode six of Making a Murder and Brendan Dassey’s about to get fucked by his lawyer again. Hey, Dry January, WHY YOU ALWAYS LYING? True story: Many actually-sober people still have social lives! And they have probably been out on the town with you, at a bar, as you have Jagerbombed yourself into brown-out, usually with absolutely zero regard for them. They can deal. Why can’t you?
It goes without saying, but 31 days of not drinking is probably not going to affect the rest of your life like your long-term health habits will. Moderation takes practice! It’s tough and it’s a long haul, no? At this point you could probably guess that Dry January is also wildly ineffective at bettering our long-term alcohol consumption, and you’d be right. The takeaway here is that Dry January, and all the hashtag and Equinox class packages and lame-ass mocktail specials that come along with it is nothing more than a month-long version of the lie that yuppy lushes sell each other every time they toggle between benders and juice cleanse throughout the year. The crossover between #DryJanuary participants and people who Instagram their spirulina grain bowls/people who go to SoulCycle or Crossfit/people who go to Coachella for their yearly molly bender isn’t a venn diagram so much as it is a single circle.
Dry January, in other words, is ultimately just another dumb trend designed to make participants feel like they’re engaging in a meaningful, communal push for betterment that’s actually just a hyper-competitive exhibitionists’ way of asserting how ostensibly in control of their lives they are—which is ironic, because together, they might be sober, but they are also just being hilariously dumb sheep. Imagine if everyone stopped doing that for a month.