The new year is a time of great renewal, and a surge in people seeking dry January tips opens a great window of opportunity. Following the hedonism of Christmas, marked by excessive consumption, choosing to abstain from alcohol for one month is a popular form of self-care.
A relatively new concept, Dry January is a public health campaign originally piloted by Alcohol Concern, a charity that aims to reduce the harm caused by alcohol abuse and alcoholism. However, as far back as 1942, the Finnish government encouraged reduced alcohol intake in January as a means of boosting the war effort.
Nowadays, Dry January has morphed into a general campaign far beyond the influence of any one charity, body or organisation. In 2019, more than 4.2 million in the United Kingdom attempted Dry January, and that number is set to rise in 2020. Accordingly, the need for strong Dry January tips from industry professionals has never been more apparent, and we are pleased to present our pointers to help reach your goal.
Analyse your drinking habits
The secret of a successful Dry January is that there is no secret. Every person arrives at their abstinence attempt from a unique perspective, so a tailored plan is required to stop drinking alcohol.
In the first instance, analysing your drinking habits a few weeks before Dry January, or perhaps over an even longer period, will allow you to identify patterns and recognise themes.
Try to spot triggers for increased alcohol intake, such as workplace stress or routine boredom. Gaining as much information as possible about your relationship with alcohol will allow you to create a winning strategy for Dry January, navigating common pitfalls and avoiding personal triggers.
Make a plan and stick to it
When you stop drinking for various lengths of time, even in the short term, temptation is bound to present itself. Alcohol has become ubiquitous in our culture, an almost compulsory addition to any celebration and many recreational events. Planning for those tricky situations will help you cope better when they arise.
If you know that friend will offer you a glass of wine after dinner, bring a non-alcoholic alternative. If you know watching a football match in the pub is bound to encourage cravings, consider staying home. If you foresee the tedium of January driving you to drink, try to find new hobbies to divert your attention.
Many Dry January tips neglect the power of mindfulness and positivity. By being present and actually thinking about your actions – weighing them and considering the consequences – you can reap the myriad benefits of Dry January. It just takes patience, vision and conviction.
Tell people that you are trying Dry January
One of the most useful Dry January tips is to actually inform other people of your efforts. There is a lot of inaccurate stigma associated with alcoholism, and that leads many people to attempt a break from drinking in solitude, without communicating their intentions.
If problems with alcohol are affecting your mental health, causing anxiety or fear, it is important to seek professional help. Hiding your history with alcohol is never productive, and we strive to change cultures so that people can find support in a non-judgmental space.
By telling people you are attempting to forego alcohol in January, the likelihood of facing peer pressure and tempting situations is reduced. There is also a ready-made explanation for refusing alcohol inherent with articulating your desires. People will respect your choice and encourage your progress. They may even join in, too, providing moral support.
Remember why you started Dry January in the first place
By the second or third week of Dry January, people can often lose sight of their goal and begin to crumble. As new year’s resolutions begin to crumble into a sea of unused gym memberships, the need to stop drinking becomes less apparent. A fortnight without booze is a good attempt, after all, so why not return to normal life?
Well, it is important to remember why you started Dry January in the first place. Think back to your earlier relationship with alcohol and consider the health benefits that accumulate when you choose not to indulge.
From weight loss and improved psychological wellbeing to reduced likelihood of liver disease and a healthier complexion, the positive health effects of Dry January are plentiful. So next time you feel like quitting and heading out for a session, just stop and reconsider. Remember your original inspiration.
Record your progress
It can be difficult to stop drinking alcohol in a vacuum, without sight of landmarks or milestones. The days can blend into one meaningless splodge, and all momentum and enthusiasm can be lost.
Therefore, one of our strongest Dry January tips is to record your progress, either in a written diary or online, perhaps using social media. Many people enjoy sharing their Dry January journey on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, fostering a sense of community to gain inspiration. Likewise, others blog about their experiences, hoping to inform, educate and entertain.
No matter how you decide to complete Dry January, try to have fun along the way. Get friends and family involved. Introduce an element of competition. Maybe even raise some funds for charity, underpinning your determination. The more incentives and motivating factors you can create, the more successful your Dry January will be.
Think about giving up alcohol for the long-term
A lot of people have one month without alcohol each year, then immediately fall into the same cycle of binge drinking and beer-fuelled socialising. Try not to count down the days until February, when you can finally drink again. Instead, consider stretching your period of abstinence into a second month, and perhaps into a third.
The real purpose of Dry January is to alter our relationships with alcohol, replacing bad habits with healthier choices. Waiting thirty-one days just to have a mammoth blow out is counterproductive. You will only rue the missed opportunity.
Instead of completing the challenge in isolation, try to make Dry January a gateway to an improved future between yourself and alcohol. After feeling the mental and physical benefits of abstinence, you may even give up for good.
How we can help you this Dry January
Here at Rehab Clinics Group, we have vast experience assisting people in detox programmes of varying timescales. If you would like confidential advice on reducing your alcohol intake or stopping altogether, we are on hand to help.
Dry January can be a difficult time for everybody. The pressures of restarting our lives after the lengthy festive break can be daunting, but alcoholism does not have to be part of your 2020 vision. Call our specialist team today on 0800 470 0382. Together, we can achieve success this Dry January and beyond.