How to drink now that Dry January is over

After you’ve spent all of New Year’s Eve proudly declaring what the new you is going to look like on January 1st to all your friends and family, those commitments, temporary as they sometimes are, can come with some unfair, subtle self-defeating pressure if you slip up or throw in the towel along the way.

Regardless of where you were or where you’re currently at with your relationship with alcohol, if you just conquered January’s 31 days booze-free, we’re proud of you. Whether you rang in the New Year poppin’ a bottle of Champagne at midnight, crashed early, or passed out before the ball dropped, resolutions can be a valiant attempt at a healthier start for a better year.

Without assuming what one’s drinking patterns were when we left off in December, there are a few things to consider before celebrating our recently achieved sober success.

Brace for re-entry

Your (drinking) friends have missed you. Like a lot, especially if the only circumstances you hang out with them involves a drink in your hand or trading rounds of shots. They may have given you crap about not drinking, but they’re probably actually a little curious themselves about the results of your personal experiment.

Embrace their curiosity and take the opportunity to tell them about everything positive you gleaned from the last month. But, remain empowered to not let peer pressure creep in. Be aware of the temptation from the exaggerated expectation to celebrate harder than choose to on your first night back out in drinking civilization so that you don’t undo all the precious time you devoted to your health. In the rare chance someone still gives you a hard time, don’t be afraid to audit your circle.

Proceed with caution

Your tolerance has probably recalibrated itself. That means less is more. What it once may have taken to get to that warm fuzzy buzz will likely happen with less drinks in less time at even a lower ABV. If your go-to drink was two fingers of bourbon neat or a 10% double IPA, maybe dilute the spirit with a couple ice cubes or start with a modest session IPA or light lager. You just went 31 days without a drop—there’s no rush to come out swinging. You’ll get dizzy and miss. Take your time. Pace yourself.

Appreciate the complements

They say, “All good things in moderation.” There’s a reason why dessert comes at the end of a meal, or a bite-sized appetizer teases what’s to come. How much would you really enjoy a decadent slice of chocolate cake if instead you crushed an entire cake every time you had a sweet tooth? It’d get old fast, you’d come to not appreciate it, and your body would eventually hate you for it.

The same is true with alcohol. If consumed with considerate intention, it has the ability to complement a meal, a night out, a lifestyle. Be mindful to respect how it can be used to enhance an experience. If taken for granted, the chocolate cake will eventually lose its appeal and so will the craft of what’s in your glass, leaving you to deal with its side effects the morning after.

Don’t forget what you remember

Look in the mirror. Go ahead, check yourself out. How good have you slept over the last month? Is your skin a little smoother—lighter bags under your eyes, maybe a few less blemishes? Have you lost a few pounds or traded a pony keg for a 6-pack? It’s okay to feel good about yourself and the way you look. Don’t lose sight of what you see.

The first three beliefs of our manifesto: Mornings are better without hangovers. Life is better without regrets. Life is too short to forget what happened last night.

We have an awesome opportunity to live an amazing life! What good is it if we can’t even remember the highlight reel? As we contemplate our next drink, let’s collectively pause… and think about how beautiful tomorrow will be feeling like a million bucks, remembering the details about the fun night we’re about to have. Now, let’s clink glasses and toast to ourselves. Cheers!

We want to hear from you!

Have you tackled and/or conquered Dry January? What was your experience like, before vs. after? Share your story. 

Jason Ley

My last name is pronounced /lā/.