I had never heard of “Dry January” until last month, when we crossed wakes with a British friend in a dinghy in Martinique.

“Come over for a sundowner?” we asked.

“We’re doing Dry January,” he warned us, “so it will just be a sparkling water for us.”

Dry January? Huh?

Though I would consider that Mike and I have a healthy relationship with alcohol, we had just congratulated ourselves for going alcohol free the Sunday before. One day, no alcohol. “Good for us!” we thought. “We are awesome!” We sat on the deck of the boat with a sparkling water instead of a glass of wine or a scotch, and it wasn’t as nice, but it was fine. But a month? While cruising?

“Sounds terrible,” we said, in unison.

“It is,” he agreed.

Dry January has become a “thing” in the UK for people who consider themselves to have a normal relationship with alcohol. According to the British newspapers, more than three million British people kicked off 2018 with a month of sobriety. It ain’t a bad idea, of course. Laying off alcohol for a month can reduce liver fat, drop one’s blood glucose level, reduce total blood cholesterol, help you sleep better. Yeah, it will probably shed a few pounds too.

I’m not surprised by Dry January. I’m just surprised that anyone living on a boat (assuming they don’t have an issue with alcohol) would actually attempt this incredible feat, let alone be successful. There is this culture of drinking while cruising…or is it while retired…or both? Whether it is a wine spritzer at lunch, a rum punch as a sundowner, a cold beer after a swim, or a scotch as the sun goes down (or all of them), drinking seems to be part of the life of a cruiser.

If this becomes a “thing” for Americans, would we participate?  Since it is now February, we can probably convince ourselves that Dry January 2019 is a very fabulous idea, then drink happily from now through December. We can always change our minds, after all.

A better idea, I think, is to have one (or two) alcohol free days a week. I’m up for that challenge. I like to eat a lot more than I like to drink, and it’s not like anyone  is telling me I have to give up sugar or bread (…or are they…)

“How about we don’t drink on Sundays?” I ask Mike.

“Today is Sunday,” he reminds me. We have friends visiting us in Martinique. They are on vacation. This is not gonna happen today.

“We could start next week,” I suggest, feebly.

“We’ll talk about it.”

And talk about it we will, but doing it is something else altogether.

But you never know, maybe Dry Sundays is going to be my thing, as long as we have no one in from out of town, or we are not celebrating something important, like arriving safely after a passage, or a full moon, or something like that.

But a whole month? I’m hoping that Dry January will remain a British thing, like Marmite.


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