Make Dry January Better: How to Have Fun Without Alcohol

two girls on top of a car on a road trip

It’s a new year and you want to make a change for your health and well-being. You’ve decided that this year, you will quit drinking and participate in Dry January. But once you are a few days into it, you may realize you spend a lot of time doing things that center around drinking alcohol. Believe it or not, finding out how to have fun without alcohol may open you up to new skills, activities, or simply more time.

This article gives a list of all the ways to have fun without alcohol while participating in Dry January!

Why You Should Participate in Dry January

Dry January is about drinking less or no alcohol for the month of January. There are so many reasons one would choose to do this. This can be an easy way to detoxify your body, save money, give up bad habits, eat better foods without overindulging on sugar/carbohydrates/empty calories. Maybe you have a sober friend and want to support them.

Alcohol is a part of many people’s lives and can be hard to give up. For some, Dry January may seem like an impossible task. But there are plenty of ways to have fun without alcohol.

Why not use this time to try new things rather than regret what you’re missing? If you have kids, why not

Here are just a few ways to get started:

List of ways to have fun without alcohol

1. Try a new sport or physical activity.

This could be anything from rock climbing, yoga, spin class, lifting, walking (surprisingly beneficial). It’s January – try ice skating! Whatever interests you, get out and try it at least once.

2. Learn a new skill. 

There are so many avenues for learning things outside of the traditional classroom these days. Try Masterclass, Monthly, Yes Chef, or one of the many courses on Udemy. Learn to play an instrument or make a robot. Learn to cook something new or paint. If you have kids, this can be a great thing to do with them.

3. Get out and walk more often. 

If you live somewhere you can walk instead of drive, try to do it as often as possible. You’ll notice more about the places you go and the people you pass. It just makes life richer. Plus, it’s healthier for you.

4. Learn another language. 

Language learning is not only fun, but will open the door to other adventures in life. You might make new friends or plan a trip to somewhere you’ve never been.

5. Go on a road trip. 

Road trips are so much fun, solo or with friends. Whether it’s just a day trip or longer, get out and see the world! Go to a town or city you’ve never seen and try the local food. Drive to the closest mountains or desert and be with nature.

6. Plan an adventure with friends or family. 

If you find yourself with some extra time this month, why not start coordinating and planning a trip with friends? If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be? Plan it!

7. Meditate. 

If you haven’t tried meditation before, January can be a good time to start. Meditation is great for so many things, but can help you focus on maintaining your new habit. Check out the Calm app for loads of guided meditations.

8. Go to a Meetup. 

If you’re learning a new skill or just want to meet new people, try a Meetup. There is bound to be a group dedicated to one of your interests. Who knows, you might even make new friends.

9. Learn a dance. 

If you don’t dance, going to a class can be terrifying but fun. Better yet, find one on YouTube and learn it with your kids or your friends!

10. Go camping. 

January is the best time for s’mores, hot chocolate and building campfires. Treat yourself with some new gear!

11. Do an escape room. 

If you love puzzles, this is something fun to do with friends.  You have to figure out how to get out in a set amount of time.

12. Volunteer. 

This is a great way to give back, meet new people and learn new things about different organizations.

13. Host a game night. 

Invite friends to play card games, board games, or if you’re feeling creative, design a new game!

14. Try new alcohol free drinks. 

Explore the ever-expanding world of non-alcoholic beverages. There are ready-to-drink products, wine, beer and spirits that are all non-alcoholic. Browse the mocktail recipes for inspiration, and check out all the top picks in the main menu. 

15. Read a book. 

You might find your social life looks a bit different this month, and that’s ok! Take a break from social media and read a new book instead.

16. Go see some live music. 

Music makes us all feel good, enough said.

Tips for Quitting Drinking in the month of January

Depending on where you live, January can be cold. Getting outside might not be as easy for some. Also, post-holidays, it can be hard to get new habits started quickly. Here are some tips that might help!

Have a plan. Whether this is every day or once a week – structure is key when you’re trying something new. If at all possible, find fun activities that friends/family members can do with you. This is a great way of spending time with people you care about while also receiving some support.

Planning to have alcohol free beverages on hand makes things a little easier. Check out some of these great ready-to-drink non-alcoholic beverage options to get started.

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t get started on January 1st, or if you break a rule you made for yourself. There will never be a perfect day to start a new habit. If you think this way you might be procrastinating. There’s no time like the present, aka start today.

Potential Adverse Health Affects of Drinking Alcohol

We all know that drinking isn’t great for our health, and there is plenty of data to confirm this, but sometimes it’s hard to remember the risks when we’re out socializing. 

So, if you’re taking on Dry January this year, be sure to arm yourself with knowledge about how to have fun without alcohol. And don’t forget that you can always reach out to others who are also participating in Dry January through online communities or even in person! There are plenty of people willing to cheer you on.

Do’s and Don’ts for Dry January

Do: Use this month to take some time for yourself.

Don’t: Try to convince everyone to do it. Focus on the work for yourself and you’ll get rewarded for it.

Do: Keep a positive attitude for the goal you will accomplish!

Don’t: Complain about not drinking.

Do: Make plans and try new things.

Don’t: Avoid your friends.

Do: Make notes when you notice changes in how you feel.

Don’t: Beat yourself up if you don’t completely stick to your goals 100%.

Frequently Asked Questions about Dry January

How long should I quit drinking?

This is an important question! There really isn’t a set time that you should do this for. It’s all about what your goals are. Make a goal, and stick to it. You will feel great when you reach your goal! Here are some sample goals to get you thinking about Dry January:

  1. Cut out alcohol on weekdays
  2. Stop drinking alcohol for the entire month of January.
  3. Try a health plan like Whole30 for the month (this also includes cutting out alcohol).

Ultimately, these are your goals, so you get to make the rules.  

Can I still have fun without alcohol?

Yes you can, and the possibilities are endless. Drinking alcohol doesn’t always end up being fun anyway. You might start noticing drunk people more when you’re not drinking.

What if I go out with friends and they want to drink?

Let them. You chose to stop drinking, not them. Life is full of moments we have to stick to our choices, and this is just one of those instances. If you need some ideas on what to order while you’re out, read The Best Non Alcoholic Drinks to Order at a Bar.

Picture of Angela T.
Hi, I’m Angela! Ever since alternative beverages made their debut, I’ve been on a mission to find the best. As someone who loves wine and making craft cocktails, I approach each new beverage with curiosity and a healthy dose of skepticism. I hope these honest reviews will help you learn which non-alcoholic drinks are best for you.