I Did Dry January Last Year. Here Are 6 Tips for First-Timers.

  • After 10 years as a regular drinker, I have committed myself to abstinence month in January 2022.
  • The dry January wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, but that’s because the system was in place.
  • I kept a journal about my motivations, joined like-minded communities, and traded alcohol-free beer.

After 10 years of frequent drinking, I finally decided to tackle Dry January in 2022. I wanted to break my almost daily beer habit, sleep better, feel less bloated, work out better, wake up refreshed and overcome new challenges.

I succeeded — I completed Annie Grace’s 30-Day Live Alcohol Experiment and probably banked the longest alcohol-free streak since I got my thing in college. It wasn’t easy per se, but it wasn’t as hard as I feared either. At times it was very challenging and even fun.

However, my success was not due to luck, grit, or good self-discipline. I think it’s because of the system I had in place before I started. Here’s some advice for those practicing Prohibition for the first time in 2023.

identify the reason

If you’re just doing Dry January because a friend asked you to, or as punishment for overindulging on vacation, you’ll have a hard time sticking with it once your friend gives up and your hangover clears. prize.

Instead, dig into your “why” before you begin. If it’s “I care about productivity,” ask yourself again why.

You can also write down what you want to get. Are you more connected to your loved ones? Are you confident that you can stay committed to yourself? A sharper mind at work? It’s a chance to try a new activity instead of the default “shall we have a drink?”

A big selling point for me was the ability to simply experience life without drinking, from eating out to watching movies. A month later, he always had February if these events were better off with alcohol.

Find a community

The alcohol experiment included free daily video and journal prompts, for about $50, and access to an online community of people who started the experiment at the same time.

This community and program structure has been my secret weapon. For a month, the experiment asks people to plunge into an alcohol-free lifestyle with excitement and curiosity, rather than frantic progress with feeling unfulfilled.

Learn about the science of addiction in Shameless Space, confront whether alcohol really does what you expect it to do, and solve triggers from ski vacations to bad days at work with other experimenters in real time.

All sorts of similar programs like Sober Sis’ 21 Day Reset and Club Soda and apps like ‘Try Dry’ can help you with your experience. Many are free.

Voice Your Commitment

I have made a promise to my partners, friends, family and colleagues. I posted about my favorite non-alcoholic beer on Instagram and pitched story after story about Dry January.

Some studies show that people who post more about their goals on social media are more likely to achieve them, but is it because they only post achievable goals or because they post more? It is unclear whether this is due to liability.

It was the latter in my case. Had I given the sober moon a shot in my own head, I knew I would have freed myself from the hook. But when so many others were on board, I was too proud to even consider it.

More and more shops are offering non-alcoholic drinks.

Abbie Wallace/Insider.

try alternatives

Alcohol-free drinks have helped me succeed. Better Rhodes’ online marketplace, non-alcoholic shops, or even regular old bars have countless surprisingly satisfying zero-proof beers. I’ve found that I have at least Heineken 0 most of the time.

These beers also tend to be much lower in calories and don’t have alcohol-addictive qualities, so you’re much less likely to want to drink more than three.

With these alternatives, you can continue your favorite rituals while drinking alcohol without getting hungover.

Alternative activities are also important.

Sunnyside’s Allen recommends that if you’re one of the many tempted on a Friday night, make plans for a Saturday morning hike, yoga class, or early coffee with friends. increase.

“Shift your mental reward center from ‘I’m going to drink to relax’ to ‘I’m really looking forward to tomorrow morning and I know there’s something I don’t want to ruin by drinking’. Tonight is really big.” It makes a difference,” he told me.

Be patient until your body gets used to it.

If you’ve been drinking regularly for years, the touted pleasures of drinking – constant energy, presence and joy – don’t start right away. You may have problems, feel hungry as your body makes up for lost alcohol calories, or become moody or sad when you stop numbing your emotions.

You may even gain weight, partly because of the way your body metabolizes alcohol differently than food.

Be patient. Alcohol can stay in your body for weeks, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Once your body finds some balance, it’s worth it.

(Side note: If you’re worried you might be an alcoholic, withdrawal is dangerous and you need medical support.)

Don’t let a mistake ruin your month

Grace calls unplanned sobriety moments learning “data points” to discourage people from feeling like they have to start over “day one.” Sobriety “is not a linear process.” she says.

So if you’re going to throw some back, it’s better to be curious than judgmental. What made you start drinking alcohol? Did the texture and taste meet your expectations? Was the next day worth it? Journal about it and make a more informed decision next time.

And remember, there are benefits to drinking less. Studies have shown that simply drinking less can help. Sunnyside has found that doing so will help you maintain a more moderate lifestyle in February and beyond.

“Think of this as a lifetime investment in your health,” Allen said. “Following that philosophy, one drink in January doesn’t feel like a big deal.”

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