Along with getting into better shape or giving up smoking, one of the more popular trends at the start of the new year is to give up alcohol for the first month of the year.
There’s even a catchy name: ‘dry January’.
The timing of cutting out booze for 31 days likely isn’t coincidental, as many people are more indulgent and loose with their diets over the holiday break.
Psychologist Dr. Brent Macdonald said participating can help us become more aware of our habits.
“It becomes really a focused time that we really pay attention to how much perhaps we are drinking,” Macdonald said.
With an increase in people looking for non-alcoholic options, craft breweries have taken notice.
Tool Shed Brewing Company recently put a spin on their well-know People Skills cream ale, skillfully stripping away the alcohol while keeping the flavour of the original to create Zero People Skills.
“Now we have a non-alcoholic beer that is not only great-tasting, but one that you can fit into your lifestyle,” Tool Shed director of sales Rob Duncan said.
Duncan said their new product is also about helping people be socially responsible.
“Maybe I’m driving… I still want to couple have drinks but I want to be safe.”
The idea of drinking without actually consuming alcohol was one the goals for Jo-Anne Reynolds when she created a line of alcohol-free spirits, Sexy AF Spirits.
Part of the inspiration came following a trip with her friends during which she was the only one drinking.
“My friends really felt excluded, in my opinion” said Reynolds. “They didn’t have any options when it came to alcohol-free choices.”
Reynolds also feels there’s an ongoing shift in how people view alcohol consumption.
“The consumer is getting more educated and aware of the consequences,” she said.
It’s not just local companies weighing in, either.
The Boring Little Girls Club — described on its website as “a community of sober women, trans and non-binary folks who have fun without alcohol and recreational drugs” — is running a fundraiser which encourages people to give up alcohol or drugs, but not medication, for the month of January.
Part of the proceeds go towards supporting the Downtown Outreach Addictions Partnership (DOAP) Team, a group that assists vulnerable Calgarians.
“They are out every day — regardless of the cold, regardless of the heat — saving folk’s lives,” the club’s president Kira Dunlop said.
Macdonald said that while cutting out or moderating alcohol consumption has plenty of physical benefits, there can also be a boost in self-esteem and confidence associated with following through on a goal.