Getting Suckered into No-Drink January


I’m a lemming, a sheep.  Forty plus years, and I’m still as impressionable as that ten-year old kid who loved to ride his red Baja bike around the town square of Fairfield, Iowa.  I, for lack of a better term, am a weak-minded dimwit.

Why?  Because I’ve chosen not to drink this month after reading this stupid blog post by Ken Layne over on Gawker.

It wasn’t so much Layne’s words that moved me to action (although his tale of passing up the Firestone Walker tasting room did make me well up a little), nor was it the tales of alcoholism and personal struggles in the comments below the article.

No, it’s mainly because I’m fat.  As I told my wife the other day, if I don’t lose some weight, I’m going to have to start fending off a new group of female admirers – chubby chasers! 

You see, there’s a period of time that begins in mid-October and ends in early January that I, like many others, give up on eating and drinking like a sensible adult.

It starts when the Halloween candy hits the store shelves and you stock up on a few bags that are gone long before anyone’s screaming “trick or treat” at your door.   Just about the time that sugar crash is ending, Thanksgiving comes along, and suddenly you find yourself in the Holiday pipeline, which is candied with feasts and beer and cookies and beer and treats (and beer) enough to make you contemplate switching to elastic waistbands for good.

Some years I fare better than others, but this year was a doozy.  I enjoyed myself, and many, many glassfuls of Troeg’s Mad Elf along the way – I worked through roughly four cases from its release in October to New Year’s Day.

So now I’m bloated.  Puffed up.  Rotund.  Portly.

If I’m going to shed my winter rolls, I have to start with cutting out the beer.  Doing so not only eliminates the hundreds of non-essential (it hurt to type that!) calories a day, it also eliminates the pantry grazing that inevitably follows the enjoyment of a couple of tasty brews.  Dropping this single (delicious, marvelous, satisfying) thing from my diet for a bit will provide just the kickstart I need to undo my unhealthy fourth quarter inflation.

I was thinking about just cutting out weekday beers before I read Layne’s post and realized that no-drink January is a better option.   I can cut out the calories from the beer and the snacks altogether without having to manage my impulses through a cycle of wet weekends and dry weekdays.  I’d likely screw that up pretty quickly and decide to hell with it, I’ll just try to sip more slowly every evening.

Instead, I simply have to lay off the beer and booze until the Super Bowl.  It seems so doable, so straightforward.  And by then my habits will be reset, and a no-beer-on-the-weekdays program will be easier to manage.

I guess I’m not really one of the “Sheeple” that neo-con trolls and conspiracy theorists love to call folks on Facebook, I just stumbled across an attractive solution to an issue I was wrestling with at that moment.  But still, it makes me feel silly to jump on a bandwagon that someone else built.

So far I’ve managed one full no-beer weekend that went pretty well, right up until last night when I was cooking up a bacon-wrapped beef tenderloin – I was jonesing for chef’s little helper.  But I persevered and managed to make it through the prep, the meal and the clean ups without an IPA or two to help grease the skids.

Now I just gotta cut out some of the other problematic things in my diet (like bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins!).

What about you – are you being extra good this January, or is it full Steam (or California Common) ahead?  As always, let us know below.



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Categories: Beer, Lifestyle


Craft beer nerd, frequent beer blogger and occasional home brewer.

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26 Comments on “Getting Suckered into No-Drink January”

  1. January 6, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

    I feel your pain, Jim. However, a month of deprivation is brutal.

    • January 6, 2014 at 6:47 pm #

      It’s been okay so far. But it’s only the sixth!! 🙂


  2. January 6, 2014 at 7:00 pm #

    I will try to drink more beer to make up for your slaking!!!!1

    • January 6, 2014 at 7:39 pm #

      America’s craft brewers salute you, sir!


  3. January 6, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    I notice no one else has said a thing. They are completely gobsmacked. “No beer? None? Not one beer for an entire month? Someone called Don; Jim may need an intervention.”

    • January 6, 2014 at 8:42 pm #

      You might be right – I need a good talking to! Right now watch the BCS Championship NOT thinking about beer. Not one teeny tiny drip or drop. Not one succulent sip. Not one hoppy sip. Nope. Not at all. No sir. 😦

  4. PDX Tim
    January 6, 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    I love the enthusiasm and my girlfriend has crazy talked about the same thing. Instead, we have decided to cut out beer and wine (and for me, bourbon) Monday through Friday UNLESS we have a date night out. Sorry, it’s really not much fun eating out or going to happy hour without having an adult beverage. And even though we love our booze, we are looking at replacing those calories consumed with cardio to work it out so it’s a net zero gain. That way, we enjoy the beverages, yet counter them with walking, light jogging, weights, etc etc If you truly enjoy something, don’t give it up. Counter-balance it instead! Good luck! Prost!

    • January 6, 2014 at 8:43 pm #

      You’re obviously not chubby enough yet, Tim! 😉

  5. Brendan
    January 6, 2014 at 8:39 pm #

    I have people asking me when the baby is due, asking if I’m expecting twins.

    I just cut back on the Cheerios. Same stuff.

    • January 6, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

      Ha ha – that’s true. Funny thing is I’m now eating four bowls a night…

  6. January 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

    I’ve heard of no-beer (or no-alcohol at all) January. Couldn’t quite bring myself to do it. I’m going back to the no alcohol during the week trick. Today is Monday… so far so good! I, too, Jim, have packed on quite a few pounds that need to be shed and have a spent a small fortune on double IPA’s the last few months… I discovered Victory DirtWolf…! Gives 2XIPA a run…! And I love me my Southern Tier!

    There is Lent… Nahhh…!!!!!

    • January 6, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

      I think the during the week thing is a good idea, but I’ve had issues sticking to it in the recent past, so going cold turkey for a month makes it easy – NO BEER – PERIOD. But when I’m back at it, I gotta try Dirt Wolf, as I still haven’t had a taste yet.


  7. Bill
    January 6, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    I have friends who do a (mostly) dry January. It usually runs from the first to last weekend of the month.

    I don’t typically drink a ton of beer. I go for quality, but on rare occasion quantity wins out. So my January will look like any other month; moderately healthy eating, a beer here and there, and martial arts classes 3-5 times a week.

    • January 6, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

      Sounds like my plan, minus the martial art and with lots more beer. 🙂


  8. January 7, 2014 at 12:36 am #

    Give up food instead!

    • January 7, 2014 at 7:17 am #

      That’s next. Eventually I’ll be living on warm milk and laxatives (and maybe cherry flavored antacids).

  9. jims
    January 7, 2014 at 12:48 am #

    Eat right. Exercise. Die anyway.

    • January 7, 2014 at 7:17 am #

      Yes, but hopefully three to four days later – totally worth the sacrifice! 😉

  10. January 7, 2014 at 7:29 am #

    There is a simple equation here Jim. To maintain one must expend as many calories as one consumes. To lose one must expend more calories than one consumes. Expend is the important word here Jim. Be moderate in your consumption–only 1 beer w/ dinner– while finding ways to increase your expenditure–use stairs not elevators, walk to the 7/11 vice driving, go sledding w/ the family, play ping-pong instead of video games, have a family walk every evening after dinner, ride a bike to work vice driving, etc., etc.

    • January 7, 2014 at 8:53 am #

      I know that’s the way to go, but dropping beer for a month – the number one source of additional calories – will help me kick start the whole “better balance” affair.


      • January 7, 2014 at 11:14 am #

        Said the man delirious from not drinking alcohol for a week.

        • January 7, 2014 at 11:57 am #



  11. Dave
    January 7, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

    Jim, so far I’m with you, haven’t had a beer in 2014 yet. Not sure how long I’ll make it, though. And I can say from experience, the “no beer during the workweek” mentality is OK as long as you don’t make up for lost time and drink a week’s worth of beer in one sitting on Friday night. That’s highly counter-productive (or so I’ve heard).

    • January 7, 2014 at 1:46 pm #

      I find the “no workweek” approach starts to blur into the week for me, as Friday, Saturday and Sunday are all up for grabs. That’s almost 50 percent of the week, which isn’t going to get me off to the start I need in 2014!

  12. January 8, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    Reblogged this on Proper_Pour.


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