Is an alcohol free January right for you?

I’ve never forgotten the first time I decided to stop drinking alcohol during the month of January. It was the morning after a particularly boozy month of December and yet another boozy New Year’s Eve party with friends in Santa Barbara. I felt so terrible that I declared to my husband that I needed a break. He felt the same way, and together we decided we’d abstain from all alcohol wine, beer, hard booze for the entire month. And it felt so good after that first fast, we actually added another month July. We decided to take an alcohol break every six months.

zin grapes

We continued that tradition together for the next several years, and then he dropped out. But I was not dissuaded. Today, January 24, I’m twenty-four days into my 2015 fast. I’m pleased to say I’ve been alcohol free in January (and July) for the last twenty years at least.

Now you must think that I’m quite a boozer otherwise. Actually I’m not. I drink a glass of wine or two most nights, but that’s it. I never drink hard liquor. However, for me doing these fasts feels good no morning after headache, a feeling of being refreshed and with it the next day, and when I don’t drink at all I have the pleasure of sleeping well and long. Even one glass of wine interrupts a good night’s sleep.

One other thing. I like that I can say I’m in control of what I drink and of what I eat as well. I’ve always been a person with a lot of will power. This regime proves that I still have it.

You must also wonder why I don’t quit altogether. Well, I have to be honest. I like my glass of red zinfandel. It’s a real treat with dinner at the end of the day. And I love to try out new labels. Since I don’t eat desserts otherwise, my glass of red zin is my dessert. I figure everyone should be able to splurge a little bit in life. Red zin is mine.


This year I was pleasantly surprised to find that I’m not alone in the alcohol-free January department. I’ve found four other blog posts about it. And a name coined for it Drynuary!

Please take a look at the following articles and let me know if you’d like to give alcohol a pass next January yourself. What could it hurt?

People Shouldn’t Ask Why I’m Not Drinking but They Do. Here’s How I Respond

Why I’ve Given Up Alcohol Every January for the Last Eight Years

What a Psychologist Specializing in Addiction Treatment Thinks About Drynuary

Actually, Not Drinking in January Is A Great Idea


  1. I should do the same, but I do love my glass of wine and think of my almost 90-year-old dad in Paris, who enjoys his aperitif every night at 7 p.m., as they watch the evening news.

    • Madeline Sharples says

      That’s so lovely about your dad. Of course an alcohol break isn’t for everyone. I do enjoy my glass of wine, and I very much look forward to going back to it on February 1.

  2. I had never heard of Dry January until this year. I can now add you to a list of several personal friends who follow this practice. Of course it is all good. I think I will let them know that Dry July is an option also! Blessings dear Madeline and enjoy your Zin here in a few days. xo, Annie

    • Madeline Sharples says

      I never realized how popular dry January was until this year. Yes, it is all good. Even dry July is good – at least for me – so Annie, encourage your friends to go for it. xo Madeline

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