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Dry January really isn’t as bad as you think, listen here to what Durham students have to say

My liver is absolutely thanking me right now


The two word phrase that is most likely to invoke fear, pity and a secret dose of admiration: “Dry January”.

The thought of an alcohol free month, or 744 hours (not that anybody is counting of course!) is enough to send shivers down the spines of most students. Cries of, “oh you poor thing” and “however will you manage” echo around you as soon as the announcement has left your lips.

Then why does it seem to be the case that 2023 is the year so many of us have taken it upon ourselves to complete a challenge seemingly more impossible than the ‘Mary’s Challenge’?

Having done Dry January I can safely say I came across a melange of views: from negative jibes, to people who were frankly astonished that anybody could last that long at uni without alcohol.

As you can imagine, those in the latter group practically keeled over once I mentioned that I was not only doing dry January, but I had been to practically every club in Durham sober.

So in the spirit of the game, I decided to seek out those in solidarity, on the condition of anonymity, to hear their opinions on the reality of dry January.

Guess you won’t be having these for a while

“It’s made me question why I drink”

Tom*, a second year from Hild Bede admitted that the drinking culture in Durham can feel quite “overwhelming” at times and that there is a bias or negative connotation towards those who choose not to drink, being labelled as “spoil-sports” or no fun.

One of the reasons Tom decided to do Dry January was so he could take “a break” from the “mental pressure” of drinking, an issue which he is not alone in facing.

He added that there had been a lot of people trying to persuade him to break Dry January and drink –  a problem I also experienced when I was doing my stint. For some reason it seems to be fair game to try and pressure people to drink, which Tom believes is a widespread issue.

“Giving up alcohol really isn’t the hardship people make it out to be”

Sophie*, a second year from Van Mildert believes that everyone should give up alcohol at least for a “short while” in order to allow people to realise that university life is more than what comes in a bottle.

She added that people act as though “you have three heads” when you mention you aren’t drinking.

Well at least you won’t be pissing off your flatmates by leaving your pres bottles everywhere

“It’s actually been so refreshing”

Emma*, a fresher from Collingwood has said that doing dry January has really helped her to “re-evaluate” her relationship with alcohol, adding that:

“I had definitely slipped in to unhealthy habits that were mostly geared towards keeping up with my friends”.

She revealed that as a fresher, most of her activities seemed centred around drinking, which at times became “exhausting and quite honestly a bit dull”.

Therefore, it seems that while the majority of students are not giving up their alcohol any time soon, there does seem to be a small yet determined group of students trying to prove that Dry January really isn’t the horror story people make it out to be.

*names changed to protect identity