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Thinking Beyond Dry January





It’s the beginning of February. Dry January might already be over, but it’s still a super important part of the year.

For millions of people a year, Dry January is the first step to overcoming their addiction to alcohol.

If you feel that your alcohol consumption is getting a bit out of control, you might benefit from Dry January a lot. But what exactly is Dry January?

Dry January is a movement run by the UK charity Alcohol Change UK.

All you have to do is refrain from drinking alcohol for a month. But the event hopes to help people realize that they don’t need alcohol to enjoy themselves.

If someone goes out with friends and has a good time without needing to drink, that’s a slight step towards not needing to drink anymore.

But what, exactly, do you do once the month’s over?

What should I do after Dry January?

While some people might choose to rush over to a bar once the month’s over, some people want to make Dry January last much, much longer than a month. Many people don’t want to revert back to the old version of themselves, but it can be hard to give up drinking.
So here are a few tips to consider when trying to get sober for good:

1. Revisit your beliefs about alcohol

Do you think that you can’t enjoy yourself if you’re not drunk? Did you think that it helped you relax or relieve anxiety? If so, write down all of these things you believe about alcohol and really consider how they’re impacting your life.

Look up whether these things are actually true. You’ll probably find out that alcohol does the exact opposite of all your beliefs. In the best-case scenario, you’ll find that your month of being sober has changed your beliefs somewhat.

2. Keep yourself engaged

If you want to get sober, consider reading some books about kicking your alcohol addiction. Watch podcasts or Youtube videos about staying sober or even join a Facebook group or two.
All of these resources will help you keep your eyes on your goal and the more focused you stay, the less likely you are to relapse.

3. Why did you participate in Dry January?

Self.com urges you to consider the reasons that you even decided to participate in Dry January in the first place [1]. Write it down and keep journals about what it feels like to be sober. This loops back around to staying engaged.

Don’t treat your decision to be sober as something that isn’t a big deal. It’s great that you’re trying to get sober and staying tuned into your emotions is a great way to understand how it really feels to not be ruled by alcohol.

Understanding the statistics about Dry January

Every year, millions of people participate in Dry January, but what how effective is it?

While many people try to lump Dry January among many other “go abstinent for a month” intervention programs, Alcohol Change UK actually offers an extensive support program for anyone participating in the event. But how does the program help people’s health?

Compared to their health before starting Dry January, drinkers found that their health tended to improve after Dry January was over. Their insulin resistance was better, they had lost a bit of weight, and their blood pressure had improved.

Participating in Dry January, even if you don’t stay completely dry put people at less of a risk to abuse alcohol again. According to Health.com, people who participate in Dry January more likely to refuse additional drinks than those who didn’t participate[2].

With these results from numerous studies, it’s no wonder so many people participate in the movement every year.

People often criticize events like Dry January since it isn’t a year-round program that limits drinking. According to research done by the University of Sussex which looked at 800 people who participated in Dry January, overall alcohol consumption fell substantially.

Average alcohol consumption fell to 3 days per week compared to 4 days a week. People also tend not to drink as much and get drunk even less frequently.

When someone stays dry for a whole month, it helps develop better drinking habits throughout the whole year. Studies show people who participate in Dry January are actually drinking less six months later. But why is that the case?

Well, when someone doesn’t drink the whole month, it helps prove to yourself that you don’t need to drink alcohol to have fun with others. When you can have fun without alcohol, you develop better drinking habits and are less likely to relapse into binge drinking.

How Dry January can unveil underlying alcoholism

Because Dry January is a month of being sober, you can uncover some signs you might be an alcoholic that you might not have noticed had you not tried staying sober for a month. You might tell yourself you’re not going to drink and end up pouring a drink.

If you’ve obsessed over the month ending so you can pour a drink, or you’re having trouble relaxing, you probably have a drinking problem. If you notice any of these problems during Dry January, you probably have a drinking problem.

Why Dutch Courage doesn’t actually work

Dutch Courage is the belief that alcohol gives you a bit of extra courage. Maybe you’re at a party and you don’t really know a lot of people, or you see meet someone at a bar that you might want to get to know.

Unfortunately, drinking only makes your anxiety or lack of confidence worse. When you rely on alcohol, you can’t develop your own coping mechanisms and will just reduce your self-esteem.

What to do if Dry January was hard for you

So you tried Dry January and you really struggled. Or maybe you wanted to but didn’t feel you could. This is a pretty big sign that you’re developing a drinking problem that you can’t control.

Don’t wait until the addiction gets worse. Alcoholism progresses the more you drink and if you can catch it before you’re isolating yourself and having trouble staying at work, you’ll recover a lot quicker and do less damage to yourself.

Dry January is such an important tool for assessing how you cope without alcohol and if you find that you can’t go the whole month without drinking, you might want to consider going to rehab.

Common struggles when you don’t drink for a month

1. You relapse

You might find that you started Dry January, but you’re starting over before the first week is over. If you keep relapsing, it’s probably not time to try Dry January out. Wait a month or two, try some of the tips detailed above and you’ll get there eventually.

2. Your emotions feel uncontrollable

When you’ve spent a long time using alcohol to cope, you’re not completely equipped to deal with any emotional problems that come your way. You’re going to want to drown your emotions in alcohol and that’s nothing to feel ashamed of.

An app that aids with detoxing

When you’re going through Dry January, one of the ways to understand how being sober improves your life, check out Try Dry. It’s absolutely free and tracks how much money and calories your saving from not drinking.

It’s available for both iOS and Android so no matter what type of phone you have, you can track your progress and how much you’re actually improving.

How to limit alcohol consumption year-round

Even though Dry January is a super helpful event, there’s a bit of novelty associated with it. Once it’s February, you’ll probably want to stay sober. One of the most important things you can do is live one day at a time.

Even if you’re sober for one day, that’s one more day that your body is getting better. If you want to stay sober for longer than a day, spend time with other people who are sober or reconnect with people who love or care about you.

But don’t be afraid to ask for help. Your friends and family love and care for you and if you ask them for help, they’ll be more than happy to help you.

How to enjoy being sober without feeling lost

Below, we include five tips for being sober without feeling lost:

If you feel yourself wavering in your decision to get sober, remember why you wanted to be abstinent in the first place. When you feel that urge to drink, it’s hard to remember why you wanted to kick your addiction in the first place. Keep your reasons written down somewhere so you can remember those reasons.

Just because you want to get sober doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your friends or family. You can have fun without alcohol and you just because you’re dry doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy leaving the house and spending time with the people you love.

You’ve probably got a few things that you want to do, but you don’t have a lot of time to do it. But guess what? Now that you’re sober, you don’t have to recover from your awful hangovers. Take that time to pick up a hobby or go out and enjoy nature.

There are tons of social media groups for people who want to get sober just like you. If you want to add a little bit of community in your life, join a Facebook group or connect with other people online.

Even if you’re sober, the fact that you’re not drinking is only a small part of your life. Even though giving up alcohol is a big deal, it doesn’t define who you are.

Your friends might be excited about you giving up alcohol at first, they’ll get tired of talking about it after a while and you can get on with your life.

Even if you’re sober, the fact that you’re not drinking is only a small part of your life. Even though giving up alcohol is a big deal, it doesn’t define who you are.

Your friends might be excited about you giving up alcohol at first, they’ll get tired of talking about it after a while and you can get on with your life.

References

[1] https://www.self.com/story/dry-january-health-benefits

[2] https://www.health.com/nutrition/dry-january-benefits

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