Dryathlon, yes or no?


I recently posted this photo on Twitter, saying ‘why not give it a go?’ – but I’ve thought about it more, discussed it with a few people and I am getting less sure.

Possible positive outcomes might be that someone who has an issue with drinking gets an excuse to try to stop. They can say that it’s for this but then carry on. Or someone else who doesn’t have much of a problem might find they just prefer not drinking, and this will accidentally help them to stop.

But for any (borderline) alcoholics who haven’t come to terms with their powerlessness, something like this could be really badly damaging. For a start, there’s not going to be any proper mental preparation, or support. It’s likely that anyone trying to go the month without tools is going to fail – and that may make them feel they can’t do it, that it’s hopeless.  Even more worrying to me, from my own experience of stopping and starting, is the old adage about the ‘progressive disease’. Now, I’m not totally comfortable with the ‘disease’ label – I think it’s more a syndrome comprised of a lot of different factors (environmental and simply mental, as much as physical) – but I do have personal evidence that if you stop and start again it gets a quantum leap worse.

How many people will dry-knuckle to the end of the month to find they are deeper in than ever,when they get to that thirsted for, stared-down pint?

I don’t think the ‘Dryathlon’ is comparable to ‘Stoptober’, then. Smoking is something people really want to stop, and it is now extremely socially unacceptable.  Smoking is a terrible chemical dependency but it doesn’t permeate your life and sense of self the way drink does. Overall, I think that this scheme may be misguided and even dangerous.

What do you think?


One thought on “Dryathlon, yes or no?

  1. Yes I am also in two minds about this. On the one hand I did Dry January last year and failed after about a week. Everyone seemed to be doing it yet secretly I had fallen off the wagon and that was a bit of a wake up call. On the other hand, I still follow Dry Jan on Facebook and I’ve found some of their posts a bit odd – the implication seems to be that if you can get through January without a drink it’ll make up for the rest of the year!

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