• Idle Chit Chat

Dry Me A River: Tori Sharp on why dry January isn’t as punishing as you might think


When first deciding to embark upon my Dry January journey, I was ready to throw in the towel at the first offer of a reasonably priced red. However, as soon as someone suggested that it was a feat too tall for me to achieve, I became stubborn. I was mostly prepared for the alcohol withdrawal and the omnipresent ‘FOMO’, but I was not ready for the onslaught of questions, judgement, and confusion from many of my friends.




A quick guide to Dry January reactions:


1) TRAGIC

2) One drink doesn’t count

3) Why?????????????

4) You are going to get SO drunk in February


As the comedian Lee Mack called it in his Sunday Times piece, the most common reaction to receive when mentioning your abstinence from alc is “the look”. The look that quickly tries to determine whether you are not drinking for a fun challenge, or if you need to stop because you “regularly end up in a skip with your trousers missing.” Personally, I am partaking in order to see if I have any self-control, and to see if not drinking alcohol has any significant impact on my life, (and potentially to gain a smidgen of repentance for past alcohol-fuelled behaviour.) A student night out sans booze affords the biggest challenge so here follows my account of a night on the tiles sober as a judge (and ready to judge all my sloshed friends.)


21st January


So far, so easy. I haven’t yet ventured to a club and tonight I will be braving the grimy underground haven that is Move; completely sober. 


9:30pm – Having a coffee to combat the inevitable tiredness that will later ensue.


10:30 pm – Pres: made myself a tonic and cordial, which felt as though I was drinking a gin and tonic as it literally tastes the same! Easy enough.


11:30 pm – Decided to get a taxi. It was raining and so we got an Ola (I'm led to believe that this is Exeter’s version of Uber) which was great, as it meant I didn’t have to brave the cold without my metaphorical ‘beer jacket’.


12:30am – Move: very sweaty, very fun, lots of drunk people, but surprisingly easy to dance and not feel like an idiot.


1:30am – Adrenaline wearing off, and without my regular tequila shot, or double vodka lime soda, the usual sugar rush that keeps me awake is not present. Luckily, I’m in Exeter, where clubs close at the perfect time for my early hours slump and I get to head home with my dignity intact.


2am – Home, in bed: no head spins and no drunk food purchased. 


7:45am – Woke up for my 8:30am lecture with no hangover and no deep feelings of regret regarding the night’s antics. 


Overall, a successful night out and only £7 spent, which was the price of my ticket (thank you, Ola for the free first ride #notspon). Despite the harrowing realisation that Move may be the sweatiest place in the whole of the South-West, (bar the heavily populated Exeter University gym – the only university this side of the Atlantic with a strictly sports-leggings only policy), it was a wildly fun evening. Well, as wild as can be on the Devonshire coast.

Quippy replies to someone who calls you boring (kindly suggested by my Mother and Ariana Grande)


1) You don’t need alcohol to have fun

2) Only boring people get bored

3) Thank u, next


So, did I continue my sobriety? No. I gleefully poured myself a glass of red wine the moment the clock struck midnight on Jan 31st. But, perhaps, I will be drinking less in general this year, as I now know how easy it is not to.


- Tori Sharp