Report: Couples Therapy Sessions Skyrocket During Dry January

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An ITB Insider investigation has uncovered some shocking results related to Dry January, the public health campaign that urges people to abstain from alcohol during the month of January. Dry January participants expect to improve their general health, lose weight, and sleep better as a result of not consuming alcohol. We conducted interviews with one therapist and a Five Points couple during our rigorous month-long investigation. We can now confirm that Dry January is directly responsible for a rise in couples therapy sessions held in Raleigh during January.

For therapists, Dry January is like Black Friday and Cyber Monday had a baby.

Dr. Anna Paige, Therapist

In early January we began receiving reports that lines at the Cameron Village ABC store were non-existent, Sunday Funday sales at Lynnwood had plummeted, and the parking lot at the Cameron Village Harris Teeter was a ghost town.

Dry January was clearly spreading in Raleigh, but could it send our local economy into a hangover from which we would never recover? How would couples handle being around each other, their friends, family, and coworkers, while totally sober?

We spoke with Dr. Anna Paige, a couples therapist specializing in first world problems, to learn more about how this was impacting Raleigh and its residents. “For therapists, Dry January is like Black Friday and Cyber Monday had a baby. It’s our most profitable month of the year. This is the first time many couples have ever had to interact with the world without the aid of alcohol. Our appointments steadily increase over the first few weeks, followed by a spike at the end of January,” said Paige.

ITB Insider spent January embedded with a Five Points couple in their 2-bedroom bungalow off of Whitaker Mill. Mary Anna Fletcher, an influencer, and Hunter Davis Fletcher III, a Senior Vice President at TriCap Properties, were attempting Dry January for the first time. Mary Anna told her husband that they would both be doing Dry January and that she would document their journey on her Instagram account “That Is So Fletch”. 

The last time I had to wait this long to drink was because of a court order.

Hunter Davis Fletcher III

Hunter was not pleased. “I thought this was just one of her influencer things, not something we’d do together. I stood in line for three hours to get this special release triple IPA and now I have to wait a month before I can drink it. The last time I had to wait this long to drink was because of a court order,” said Fletcher III.

Mary Anna began the month by posting “mocktail” recipes to her Instagram account.

Paige explained why Mary Anna felt the need to share the experience publicly on social media. “Similar to being vegan, a major aspect of Dry January is telling others that you are doing Dry January. Many believe that publicly sharing their progress will show the world how close they are as a couple. External validation can help them cope with the fact that they haven’t spoken to each other for three straight days.”

When asked how much his productivity at work had increased, Hunter replied, “I’ve gone to more coffee meetings this month than I have in my entire career. Do you know how hard it is to close a deal when you can’t drink at a client dinner? I legit might lose my job.”

The couple began seeing Dr. Paige on January 4th. By the end of the month Hunter questioned the origins of Dry January. “Since when is this even a thing? All of a sudden everyone is talking about Dry January. We’ve spent $6,400 on 36 therapy sessions. I swear Big Therapy is behind this.”

Paige did not deny the accusation. “Oh absolutely. We spend a lot of money on Dry January lobbyists.”

Mary Anna seemed less concerned with the cost. “The tartan lining in this whole thing is that we became closer as a couple and we’re saving money. My skin is so much better that I can go an extra month between botox sessions. That’s money in the bank.”

Despite feeling healthier and making many breakthroughs during couples therapy, Mary Anna and Hunter resumed drinking alcohol on February 1st.

On a totally unrelated note, Seaboard Wine will be hosting a free wine tasting from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Saturday, February 8th.

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