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Defy the défi de Janvier? - Tim Atkin

A mate of mine sent me a message on New Year’s Day. “Dry January is dragging on a bit”. But in some ways, the idea of giving up alcohol for a month isn’t the butt of an old friend’s joke. Right now, it’s at the centre of a political row in France, (of all places!), after 45 professors of addiction studies signed a letter urging their compatriots to eschew booze as part of the so-called défi de janvier, or January challenge. The French wine industry, needless to say, disagrees.


I tried it once, years ago, and it was easier than I imagined. I lost a bit of weight and slept a little better, but meals without wine, especially in restaurants, were considerably less enjoyable. I love wine, rather than alcohol per se, but I don’t find it hard to go without it two days a week. This seems a preferable, and more sustainable, approach in my view. Take time off. Drink less, but better. Open bottles that you really want to share and enjoy.


I’m not criticising anyone who has decided to go dry for a month – despite the jokes, that friend of mine says she’s “enjoying the challenge” – yet I can’t help feeling that denying ourselves something that’s pleasurable, convivial and safe, if drunk in sensible amounts, is ultimately a bit pointless.


Meanwhile, February is only 26 days away.

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