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How to take part in Dry January

05 January 2022

Physical

Posted on: 05 January 2022

Dry January, as in ditching alcohol in the first month of the new year, is an annual tradition for many people. For some, it’s part of a New Year’s resolution to drink less, while others like to take a break after excessive drinking over the festive season.  

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s not easy giving up something we enjoy, especially if it’s part of our everyday life. Here’s how to make a success of your sober month. 

1. Think about why you’re doing it 

It’s useful to have a break from alcohol sometimes. It can help you reassess your relationship with drinking and see the health benefits of going booze-free.  

There are many personal benefits, including a clearer head, less anxiety, sleeping better, weight loss, and a sense of achievement from hitting your goal. 

Make sure you write down your motivations to refer to when you are tempted to give up. 

2. Make a firm decision, not a flimsy one 

Treat your break from drinking in the same way you’d approach cleaning your teeth. You don’t try and clean your teeth, you just make it happen. Even if you’ve had a busy day, you still find time to brush your teeth! It’s non-negotiable. However difficult, try and treat your sober challenge the same way. 

3. Give yourself the best chance of success 

Before Dry January starts, remove all alcohol from the house. Ask a friend or family member to take away any items that could distract you. 

If you have social events coming up where you’d normally have alcohol, think about what you’d like to drink instead – bring it with you if necessary. 

Explain to people why you’re doing this – it’s a great conversation starter and most people will be supportive and help you. 

4. Mother yourself for the month 

Think of it this way: if your child was grumpy, restless and irritated, you wouldn’t reach for the wine bottle to soothe them, right? Instead, you’d troubleshoot the problem and try to make things better. You’d mother them. Are they tired? Hungry? Thirsty? Bored? Do they need a cuddle? Connection? 

As adults, our needs are basically the same. So, when that alcohol craving starts to appear, think twice about what it is you actually need. 

5. Challenge your beliefs about booze 

Don’t just count down the days until you can drink again. Instead, keep a list of all the so-called ‘benefits’ you think you get from drinking. Next to the list of benefits, draw two columns: evidence for, and evidence against. 

For example, if you’re convinced that you need wine in order to make date night more special, what about all those times when you’ve argued after drinking too much, or felt hungover, sleepy and distracted? Note it all down! 

6. Celebrate your success 

Making changes to your lifestyle can be difficult so it’s good to reward yourself with something if you are making progress. Find some ways to celebrate success that don’t involve alcohol – a great habit to get into for the rest of the year too. 

This could be a great opportunity to discover new ways to have fun and relax without drinking. You could try painting, a new online exercise class or even learning a musical instrument. Planning fun things to do with your time will help you keep on track. 

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