Every year Dry January is celebrated. It is a month when many from all over the world avoid alcohol for the full 31 days.
In fact, doing dry January is becoming more and more popular with millions of people joining in the challenge.
History of Dry January
The idea of not drinking in January was born in 1942 when the Finnish government launched a campaign called Sober January. A modern campaign was started in 2014 by a charity called Alcohol Change. In current times, with such a focus on health and wellness, dry January has become common, with lots of people drying out after the holidays.
Why do Dry January?
There is a multitude of reasons why people choose to do Dry January. Some are sober curious. Sober curious is a term used to describe someone who wants to try sobriety without committing to it. Dry January allows these folks to explore sobriety to see what it feels like. What does this feel like? How will I feel during these 31 days? Ruby Warrington defines sober curious “as choosing to question or be curious about every impulse, invitation and expectation to drink, rather than mindlessly following the dominant drinking culture.” We are raised in a society where drinking is the norm. Many of us see our parents drinking when we are small. We see people pouring a glass of wine to destress, relax and unwind. Dry January can be a safe way to explore your relationship with alcohol.
Others do Dry January because they want to push a reset button after overindulging during the Holidays. Some want to be sober for 31 days to try it out and see what it is like to live without drinking. Many do it for physical or mental health reasons. Some do it because they notice that alcohol is impacting their relationships. Going dry for 31 days can give them an opportunity to see what their relationship is like without alcohol, especially recently when there has been an increase in alcohol use. Psychiatry professor Dr. James Garbutt states, “The Pandemic crisis caused stress for everyone, and many folks increased their alcohol use.” A research study led by Massachusetts General Hospital estimated that a one-year increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic will result in 8,000 additional deaths from alcohol related liver disease.
What do Therapists say:
We interviewed our therapist at Modern Therapy and Wellness, Jane Troescher. She shared her thoughts on Dry January:
“Engaging in a challenge like Dry January makes it less daunting to pause drinking because it guides you to have a specific timeline for your goal and allows you to engage with others who might be trying it as well. It also gives you the opportunity to see if your drinking affects your relationships or daily life, without having to commit to being sober forever. You don’t have to be addicted to alcohol to benefit from abstaining. The benefits of improved physical health, mental health, and social interaction while sober might be enlightening if you drink regularly. If you do struggle with staying sober for the entire month, it might be the signal you need to seek professional help with managing your drinking.”
Go into Dry January with a plan
If you decide to do dry January, just like anything else, it’s a good idea to prepare. Preparation can include thinking about times when you typically drink and thinking about how you want to use that time. If you drink in the evenings, think about new activities or rituals you can engage in before bed.
If you typically drink socially, think about how you want to handle that. What will you drink instead of alcohol? Who do you want to socialize with over the next month? Do you want to continue going to places with folks that drink or would you rather change the places that you frequent? How will you spend your time? Have you wanted to drink more water, try yoga or start reading more? This is your opportunity to try some new things or reconnect with old things.
Here are some tips you can try:
- Substitute sparkling water, coffee or non-alcoholic drinks
- Keep alcohol out of your house
- Remind yourself of why you chose to commit to Dry January
- Write your reasons down in a notebook next to your bed
- Take up a new hobby or creative outlet
- Consider finding a sober buddy
- Engage in mood boosting activities such as exercise or a new exciting project
Modern Therapy and Wellness is a Therapy practice offering specialty services to individuals and couples. We have specialists in the areas of grief, addiction, Anxiety, chronic illness and couple’s therapy. We provide in person and virtual Therapy in Louisiana. Contact us for a free phone consultation.