In case you’ve been living under a rock (or a Rolling Rock), “Dry January” is a growing phenomenon in the US, years after its inception as a public health initiative in the UK starting in 2014. During the first month of the year, participants in Dry January abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages. Dry January hit an all-time popularity high in 2021, after many participants cited drinking too much during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it becomes ever more popular with each consecutive year.

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I was one of the 13% of Americans participating in Dry January in 2021. I made to January 3rd, when an impromptu playdate with some of the neighbors turned into a wine tasting (on the part of the parents, not the kids) I didn’t have the willpower to pass up. I did manage to keep it dry for the rest of the month with a little help from my spouse, but I’ll be the first to admit that for me, it was a failed experiment, and not one I plan on repeating.

It’s not that I don’t have the willpower to go a month without hitting the bottle (although I didn’t have it that January 3rd). And it’s not that I don’t believe in the power of personal growth through self-denial… I was born Catholic; 40 days of Lent makes Dry January’s 31 days look wimpy by comparison. I didn’t even miss champagne on New Year’s Eve when I was 5 months pregnant with twins, though I did give the alcohol-removed wine a try despite it tasting like the cork from a bottle of real wine.

Ever since COVID turned my office job into a home office job, the demarcation line between work and home has gotten very blurry. One of the ways I draw the line is to leave my office and pour myself a glass of wine while I make dinner. In a way, it’s clocking out of one job only to clock into another, but the dinner-making glass of wine is a way for me to unwind before I have to be on for the bedtime gauntlet. It’s a comforting part of my daily routine that I look forward to after sitting in front of a screen all day.

Does the glass of wine make me a better person? A better mom? No. Would I cease to function without it? Also no. But it’s something I enjoy, and that’s a good-enough reason for me to say no to dry January. Furthermore, January is kind of a crappy month. It’s cold and gray and you’re expected to be productive and stop the napping and cookies that carried you through the last half of December. If a little wine helps to lift me out of the winter doldrums, then Dry January just isn’t for me, and that’s okay.

Kelly I. Hitchcock
Kelly I. Hitchcock is a literary fiction author, humorist, and poet in the Austin, Texas area. She is the author of three books and has published poems, short stories, and creative non-fiction works all over the country. Raised by a single father in the small town of Buffalo, Missouri, Kelly has fond memories of her poor rural upbringing in the Ozarks that strongly influence her writing and way of life. She’s a graduate of Missouri State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. She has six-year-old identical twins and a full-time job, so writing and picking up LEGO are the only other things she can devote herself to. You can find all Kelly's work at


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