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by Niki Sawni December 30, 2020
This is a guest post written by Hilary Sheinbaum, a New York City based freelance writer and author of the newly released book The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month. You can learn more about Hilary below or over on her website. We’re super excited to have connected with Hilary and support her on the launch of her first book!
Four years ago, on a whim, I made a silly bet that changed everything for me. It not only altered the course of my career, but truthfully the rest of my life.
On New Year’s Eve 2016, with a glass of Champagne in hand, I texted a guy friend (Alejandro, aka Al) and initiated a Dry January wager moments before 2017 began.
The premise? The two of us would attempt to forgo all forms of alcohol — wine, beer and spirits — for 31 days. Al had mentioned this challenge to me a week earlier over sushi. At the time, it registered as seemingly impossible. (And, upon sending my text, I wasn’t entirely sure what the month would really entail.) I was nervous, to say the least.
During the time of our bet, I had my dream job. Since I was a teen, I wanted to interview celebrities on the red carpet, live in New York City, and explore everything that Manhattan had to offer — including a buzzing social life. As an entertainment reporter, my work day started at 5 p.m. and ended in the early morning hours (after parties, et. al).
During the day (i.e. during normal hours of business) I was a food & beverage writer. My coverage spanned from restaurants to chefs to (you guessed it!) booze. On top of my worklife, I was a single and social 20-something — and alcohol had its part in this fast-moving lifestyle.
Upon making the bet with my friend: I wasn’t sure if Dry January would improve my life at all, but I was curious if anything would change. Spoiler alert: so many things shifted, for the better. At the end of my first Dry Month, I realized many benefits like clearer skin, improved sleep and more money in the bank, among others. (I also won the bet with my friend and enjoyed a very fancy dinner — thanks buddy!)
During the past four years — and especially that initial run — I learned so much about how to do a Dry January including how to respond to naysayers, alternative happy hour ideas and dating without alcohol.
I took my first-hand experiences, the questions I was asked, and additional research too, and put it into a fun, entertaining and judgement free guide: The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month. Within the book are tips, interactive worksheets, and recipes, to keep you informed and engaged in Dry January (or any other AF period of time).
Whether you’re doing Dry January for the first time, a seasoned alum, or making a bet with a friend: there’s something in there for everyone. And, if you’re attempting a dry month again after a false start (ahem, Al) — you’ll find support too.
Cheers to a new year, and to you!
Hilary Sheinbaum is a content creator and freelance journalist. She writes about beauty, entertainment, food, fitness and more. Hilary has contributed to dozens of publications including The New York Times, USA TODAY, New York Magazine, Us Weekly, Marie Claire, ELLE.com and Forbes.com, among others.
She also just released her first book “The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month.”