6 Dry January Tips: Preparing for the Month
Why It’s Important to Remain Sober in the New Year
Dry January is a fun challenge that people worldwide join in on every year, putting aside alcohol (and other substances) for the entire month of January. The movement was started by a nonprofit organization called Alcohol for Change UK, with about 4,000 people participating in the UK in 2012, and today it is a worldwide phenomenon, with around 20% of American adults pledging to abstain from alcohol in January. In the month of December and throughout January, you may even begin to see dry January tips flooding social media accounts or hear your friends, family, and coworkers discussing it.
Dry January is so popular because January is an excellent time of year to take a big step like this. After the holiday season, many people seek peace, rebirth, or a fresh start, often making big New Year’s resolutions or sweeping life changes, setting goals to accomplish for the year ahead. Many people enjoy stepping back and taking stock of their health, lifestyle, career goals, and social situations, and alcohol tends to affect all of these important life areas, especially if you have developed a drinking habit. Even for just one month, quitting drinking can help you reevaluate your relationship with alcohol and help you face problem drinking behaviors head-on.
Staying sober in the New Year can make a huge difference to you in many aspects of your life. If you choose to stay sober for the full calendar month of January, you may notice you have the following:
- A stronger immune system and you get sick less often. You will also have a much lower risk of developing certain kinds of cancer and serious or even deadly diseases due to drinking
- A stronger social life and friend group, as you can forge deeper connections to loved ones and friends without relying on alcohol as a social lubricant. You are also more likely to follow through on social commitments when you are not drinking
- Better mental health, as alcohol, is a depressant, and many people use the haze of alcohol to numb their emotions instead of dealing with their problems
- More money in the bank. Alcohol is expensive! Why throw away your hard-earned dollars when you can start a savings account or use the money on making memories with loved ones
- A healthier complexion. Pausing your drinking for just one month may give you clearer skin, reduce puffiness in the face and a bloated body, and eliminate your undereye circles and bloodshot eyes.
- Less body odor. Did you know that excessive drinking makes you smell bad? Your breath and your sweat will smell so much less pungent if you stop drinking
- Better sleep. Even though some people may swear having a drink helps them fall asleep, the overall quality of sleep is affected by drinking, so stopping may give you more energy throughout the day
A better grasp of your relationship with drinking. Sometimes all it takes is a few weeks away from a habit or behavior to realize we did not truly enjoy it, it was simply becoming an addiction. Just like stepping away from gambling or getting off social media for a while, once you stop the behavior, you may see life and how you spend your time from a new perspective. Maybe you were only drinking because you did not know what else to do with your time. Dry January is a good way to reevaluate whether you want to continue your nightly glass of wine or decide to stop drinking when you are alone.
6 Dry January Alcohol Tips
If you are curious about what life would be like without drinking for a full 31 days but are not certain you will be able to make it, you may wish to follow some of these Dry January tips:
- Remove temptation by taking the alcohol out of your home and staying out of bars and pubs for the month. If you have to go out of your way to get alcohol, then you will be much less likely to drink on impulse
- Change up routines that usually end with drinking. If you have a glass of wine in the bath, switch to showers for a bit, or do not stop at your friend’s house where you usually crack a cold one, instead invite them to yours
- Switch up your beverage. Have a seltzer or a cup of coffee instead of an alcoholic beverage
- Change your mindset. Try not to think about it as taking something away from your routine, instead think of it as a new opportunity to live life with a clear head and get to know yourself without alcohol
- Address the real issue. When you feel like having a drink think about what you are really trying to address. Are you bored? Go for a walk. Do you feel lonely? Text a friend or go out somewhere
- Pay attention to your health. It is never advised to quit drinking suddenly, especially if you have been drinking regularly for a long time or drinking a lot. Talk to your doctor before deciding to join in on the Dry January trend to ensure your health and safety
Learn about the alcohol withdrawal process here:
What You Can Do If You Relapse
Relapsing happens in three stages:
- Emotional relapse (feeling discontent or having emotions like anger or anxiety)
- Mental relapse (thinking about drinking, romanticizing drinking, telling yourself just one won’t hurt, etc)
- Physical relapse (actively drinking alcohol again)
Knowing how to recognize these phases in yourself is a big part of relapse prevention, and you can often turn the first two phases around on your own before they lead to a full-blown relapse. If you find yourself drinking again when you are trying to quit, you have some options:
- Call a hotline or attend a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous to talk it out with people who get it
- Talk to trusted friends and family members and ask them to hold you accountable as you take back control over your drinking
- Book an appointment with your therapist or another addiction specialist for professional support
- Consider moving into a sober living home or returning to rehab if it is too difficult to stay away from alcohol on your own
Get the Help and Care You Need at Muse Treatment Center
If you have found yourself struggling with staying sober and all the Dry January tips and tricks are not helping, Muse treatment center is a place you can come to for help with quitting drinking. Alcohol abuse and addiction are serious problems, and being unable to quit drinking, even for a few weeks, is a sign that you may need professional help.
Our team offers safe residential (inpatient) medical detox plans that provide 24-hour full-time medical care, including the option to take prescription medications to keep you comfortable and safe as your body cleanses itself of toxins. We have inpatient and outpatient rehab programs that are customizable to your individual needs, with evidence-based therapy and counseling, along with dual diagnosis programs for mental health treatments, family therapy, group therapy, EMDR, life skills, educational programs, CBT, and holistic treatments including mindfulness and spirituality. Relapse prevention programs and nutrition and fitness plans provide healthy coping mechanisms and habits that will last a lifetime.
We also provide connections to local SMART and 12-step groups for peer support, and we work with you to address psychosocial issues like finding sober housing, employment, and probation issues, and your treatment is customized to suit your needs far into aftercare, with connections to community resources and ongoing care for as long as you need. Please contact Muse Treatment Center at (800) 426-1818 today to verify insurance coverage and learn more about how we can help you stop drinking and stay sober.