How to Do Dry January - A Dry January Guide 2024

How to Do Dry January - A Dry January Guide 2024

Are you contemplating participating in Dry January but unsure about what it entails or whether it's suitable for you? Whether you're newly sober, sober-curious, or simply seeking a healthier start to the year, Dry January offers an enlightening journey. This month-long challenge is not merely about abstaining from alcohol; it's an opportunity to reset your habits, gain new insights into your health and well-being, and perhaps even transform your relationship with alcohol.

At Dry Drinker, we recognise the significance of this undertaking. That's why we're here to guide you through every step, offering insights, tips, and a range of non-alcoholic alternatives that promise to delight your taste buds without the alcohol content.

If this blog does tempt you into trying Dry January, there’s a handy Dry Advent Calendar you can sign up for which offers 31 days of helpful advice and offers to keep you motivated throughout the month!

All they ask for is to donate the price you would usually pay for a drink, and all proceeds go to Alcohol Change.  

Psst - You'll find Dry Drinker sitting proudly behind the 1st door with an outstanding offer!

Get the Dry Advent Calendar


What is Dry January?

Dry January is an annual campaign delivered by Alcohol Change UK where people choose to abstain from alcohol for the entire month of January. It started in 2013 as a way to encourage individuals to take a break from alcohol after the festive season, offering them a chance to reflect on their drinking habits and begin to experience the positive effects the dry lifestyle can have on the mind and body. This initiative, which has grown in popularity each year, aims to promote healthier drinking habits and raise awareness about the effects of alcohol on health and well-being.

When does Dry January Start?

Dry January officially starts on the 1st of January each year. It runs for the entire month, ending on the 31st of January. This period is chosen specifically as it follows the festive season, a time when people often engage in increased levels of social drinking.

You might be thinking: ‘But what if I go out on New Year's Eve and I'm drinking past midnight?’. Well, worry not, it's generally accepted that Dry January starts when you wake up on the 1st of January. This means that if your New Year's Eve celebrations include alcohol and extend past midnight, it's not considered as breaking the Dry January pledge. Dry January is more about a personal pledge than a set of hard and fast rules; it's your commitment to yourself, with no one to judge if you start right after New Year's celebrations.

What are the Rules for Dry January? 

Dry January is about making a personal commitment to abstain from alcohol for the month. While there are no strict 'rules' as such, the general guideline is clear: no alcoholic beverages from the 1st to the 31st of January. However, it's important to remember that Dry January is a personal challenge, and how you approach it can be adapted to suit your individual goals and needs.


The Benefits of Dry January

Embarking on Dry January is not just a temporary change; it's the beginning of a new, exciting journey towards better health and well-being. This one-month alcohol-free period can be especially enlightening for those newly converted to, or curious about, a sober lifestyle. Studies have shown that even a brief break from alcohol, particularly for moderate to heavy drinkers, can produce immediate health benefits. The experience of living without alcohol, even temporarily, can offer a fresh perspective on everyday life and personal habits.

  1. Improved Physical Health: Participants often report noticeable improvements like better sleep quality, potential weight loss, and enhanced liver function. Even a short hiatus from alcohol can make a significant difference to your body.
  2. Mental Health and Clarity: The absence of alcohol's depressant effects can lead to clearer thinking, reduced anxiety, and a general uplift in mood and mental health.
  3. Increased Energy and Productivity: Without the lethargy often associated with alcohol consumption, you might find yourself with more energy, enabling increased productivity and engagement in hobbies and activities.
  4. Financial Benefits: The cost of alcoholic beverages can add up, so abstaining for a month can lead to significant financial savings.
  5. Developing Healthier Habits: Dry January can serve as a catalyst for long-term healthy drinking habits, encouraging participants to reassess and often change their relationship with alcohol.
  6. Boosted Self-Control and Empowerment: Successfully completing Dry January can provide a boost to your confidence and a sense of accomplishment, underlining your ability to make positive, health-conscious decisions. 


This month-long commitment to an alcohol-free lifestyle is about discovering the positive impacts on your mind and body, reinforcing the idea that you're not denying yourself but rather opening the door to new experiences and well-being.

For more in-depth information on the health benefits of reducing alcohol consumption, take a look at our blog on ‘The Benefits of Cutting Down on Alcohol’. 

Woman sat on the sofa enjoying a glass of water

Dry January can lead to an overall improved feeling of wellness in both mind and body


Planning your Dry January - Getting Prepared

Preparing for Dry January involves thoughtful planning to make your journey successful. Just as a ship needs a sturdy anchor, consider these steps as your anchor for a month of alcohol-free living. These proactive measures will help you navigate the challenges and fully embrace the positive changes ahead.

Set Clear Goals

Take some time to outline specific goals for your Dry January journey. Whether it's improving your physical health, mental clarity, or simply enjoying a month of sobriety, having clear objectives can keep you motivated. 

Remove Temptation

Consider disposing of any alcohol in your home or relocating it to a less accessible place, such as the attic or a locked cabinet. This physical act reinforces your commitment.

Plan for Social Situations

Anticipate scenarios where alcohol may be offered, and establish a plan for how you'll respond. Having predetermined alternatives or polite refusals can help you navigate social events with confidence. If you’re wanting to go out with friends, an alcohol-free bar can be a great option!

Two people say at Torstigbar Alcohol Free Bar drinking a mocktail

Torstigbar is a great alcohol free bar to meet up with friends. 


Treat Yourself

Remember that not drinking for a month will save you money. Use these savings as an opportunity to pamper yourself with something you enjoy, whether it's a special treat, a spa day, or a new book.

Prepare Your Support Network

Share your Dry January commitment with friends and family. Their awareness and encouragement can provide valuable emotional support during your journey.


7 Top Tips for Dry January 

You've diligently planned your Dry January, but the journey can still present challenges. That's where our top tips come in. These practical suggestions will empower you to stay motivated, explore new experiences, and embrace the positive changes that await. So, let's dive into these tips and set you on the path to a successful and fulfilling Dry January.

  1. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay refreshed and help reduce cravings.
  2. Explore Non-Alcoholic Options: Discover a variety of non-alcoholic beverages to enjoy as alternatives. Whether you usually go for a glass of wine, or a can of beer, a bottle of cider, or a spirit and mixer, there are so many alcohol-free options to swap out for your usual favourite. 
  3. Join a Support Group: Consider joining online or local support groups to connect with others on the same journey.
  4. Mindful Drinking: Practice mindfulness to become more aware of your alcohol consumption triggers.
  5. Stay Active: Engage in physical activities to boost your mood and energy levels.
  6. Reward Yourself: Celebrate your achievements throughout the month.
  7. Stay Positive: Maintain a positive mindset and focus on the benefits of your alcohol-free month.


What to drink during Dry January - Our Top Non-Alcoholic Drink Picks 

Choosing the right drinks to enjoy during Dry January can be a delightful journey of exploration and taste. Below, we've listed some of our favourite non-alcoholic alternatives, each offering its unique flavour and experience. However, everyone's palate is different, and we encourage you to explore and find the non-alcoholic drinks that resonate most with you. 


ON Beer

A fantastic non-alcoholic beer, ON Beer does more than provide a delicious IPA alternative. As a functional drink, it contains a unique blend of powerful botanicals called X Blend™, which not only enhances mood, boosts energy, and promotes wellness, but can also give you a buzz even without alcohol

Shop Now


A bottle of ON beer

Credits @soberandcurious

High Ball 

If you’re favourite drink is a gin and tonic, Highball is the perfect swap! It boasts the same unmistakable aroma and taste of juniper and pairs it with a unique and harmonious blend of botanicals for the most delicious alcohol-free G&T!

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A bottle of High Ball and someone pouring a bottle into a glass



We know some of you reading are going to be craving the iconic taste that is Guinness Stout. Lucky for you, Guinness brewers have worked relentlessly to create Guinness 0.0, which retains the beautifully smooth, cool, and dark taste of the original Guinness while removing the alcohol.

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DC Red Shiraz

DC Red Shiraz is one of the most popular non-alcoholic red wines on the market, and for good reason. Grown in vineyards on the cool west coast of South Africa, this full-bodied 100% Shiraz has a bold and fruity taste profile that is balanced by subtle spiciness and smokiness from the oak ageing. Perfect for pairing with a hearty meat dish! 

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Thatcher's Zero

If you’re a fan of a fruity cider then look no further than Thatcher’s Zero. This award-winning crisp apple cider is crafted from Thatcher's favourite bittersweet apple varieties, blending traditional and modern apples to create a unique alcohol-free cider experience. Thatchers spent two years refining their Zero Cider through a unique production process, ensuring it met their high standards for taste, depth, and appearance.

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Oddbird Spumante

This delicious sparkling wine is the perfect prosecco alternative for any celebrations you have planned during Dry January. Take a sip of the Oddbird Spumante, and you'll be greeted with a fruity, floral, and elegant taste that's sure to impress. Serve chilled in your favourite glass! 

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A bottle of Oddbird Spumante

Credits @osmantahir


Embracing a Dry January 

Embarking on Dry January is a journey of self-discovery and empowerment, especially for those newly embracing sobriety or exploring a sober-curious lifestyle. This guide aims to provide essential tips and insights to navigate this transformative month, highlighting the significant health benefits for both body and mind. By choosing this path, you're not just abstaining from alcohol; you're opening the door to enhanced well-being, clearer mental focus, and a renewed sense of energy. Our carefully curated selection of non-alcoholic beverages offers delightful alternatives, however be sure to explore the full range of non-alcoholic drinks to find the drink alternative that’s best for you. Embrace this opportunity to start a new, exciting chapter in your life, filled with positive changes and discoveries.

Get The Dry January Advent Calendar 

To make the Dry January journey as easy and rewarding as possible, why don't you sign up for the Dry Advent calendar

Simply donate the price you would usually pay for a drink, (with all proceeds going to Alcohol Change UK) and get 31 days of helpful advice and offers to keep you motivated throughout the month.

Get the Dry Advent Calendar


Proud to be an Official Partner of Dry January 2024

At Dry Drinker, we're thrilled to announce our official partnership with Dry January 2024. As a leader in the non-alcoholic beverage industry, we're committed to supporting your journey towards a healthier lifestyle. This partnership underscores our dedication to promoting mindful drinking and providing top-quality, alcohol-free alternatives that don't compromise on taste or experience. Together with Dry January, we aim to inspire and empower individuals to explore the benefits of an alcohol-free life, not just for a month but potentially as a long-term choice. Join us in this transformative movement and discover how rewarding cutting down or out alcohol can be with Dry Drinker by your side.


Common Dry January FAQs

Why is Dry January so hard?

Dry January can be challenging due to habitual alcohol consumption, social pressures, and the adjustment to a lifestyle without alcohol. It often requires a change in routine and coping strategies, which can be difficult initially.

Can you lose weight doing Dry January?

Many people lose weight during Dry January as they cut out the calories from alcohol. Combined with potentially healthier lifestyle choices, this can contribute to weight loss.

What happens to the body after Dry January?

After Dry January, many experience improved sleep quality, better hydration, enhanced liver function, and overall well-being. It can also lead to long-term healthier drinking habits.

Does Dry January start at midnight?

Dry January officially starts at midnight on January 1st. However, it's common for people to begin their commitment when they wake up on the 1st, especially if they've been celebrating New Year's Eve.

When does Dry January end?

Dry January ends at midnight on January 31st, marking a full month of abstaining from alcohol.

Who started Dry January?

Dry January was started by the charity Alcohol Change UK in 2013 to encourage people to take a break from alcohol at the start of the year and reflect on their drinking habits.

Can you drink non-alcoholic alternative drinks in Dry January? 

Yes, non-alcoholic alternatives are encouraged in Dry January. They often contain less than 0.5% alcohol, similar to the amount found in foods like ripe bananas and some types of bread, making them suitable for the challenge.

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