If you’ve been participating in Dry January, you might be wondering what to do now that January has come to an end. Whether you feel great after a month off booze or haven’t noticed much of a difference, it’s likely that you’ve been thinking about your drinking habits.
You might be wondering if you should reintroduce alcohol into your life or if you should keep riding the sober wave. Maybe you’ve already hit the town hard and are feeling pretty rough this Sunday. Whichever category you fall into, remember that you’re not alone.
Here at OTI we’re not about being preachy or judgemental; if you want to try to drink in a more sensible way, we’re here to support you. To us, any thoughtful examination of your drinking habits is a good thing. However, if I had to give some advice, I’d recommend anyone who drinks to challenge themselves to 100 days sober.
Going alcohol-free for a month is an incredible achievement and works wonders for your mind and body. But whenever I took a month off, I’d hit the hard stuff just as much as before in order to ‘treat’ myself after all my hard work. This was unideal as it led me to forget why I took a break in the first place.
After 100 days, things changed for me. Sure, the ‘pink clouds’ (the lovely, fuzzy feeling you get when you first ditch the beer) might have been fading, but something incredible was happening. I was realising that I was better without drinking. I was happier, funnier, more interesting, and more productive. I could socialise without drinking; I could relax without drinking; and, most importantly, I was starting to learn about what I really wanted from life.
After 100 days, many people report a change of attitude. It’s a long enough time for you to realise how drastically different (and usually improved) your life is. There might be some struggle along the way, but 100 days gives you enough time to reset your mind and body and illuminate how you used alcohol in the past.
It’s okay if you’re not convinced by the 100-day challenge; you should remember that what you have already done is incredible!
Since the Dry January campaign was created by Alcohol Change UK, here are some tips from the alcohol-focused charity for how to manage alcohol-related issues going forward…
"Take some time to reflect
Before you jump straight back into your usual drinking habits in February and beyond, take some time to think about what you want from your drinking going forward. What parts of Dry January did you like or appreciate? What benefits did you value the most? Are there ways you can get those things year-round after reintroducing alcohol, too?
Work out how much you were drinking before Dry January
Get an idea of how many drinks or units you were having before Dry January, and whether you’re happy with that. This is a great starting point to help you work out what you’d like to change, and where you could make those changes.
Build your way up to how much you want to be drinking, slowly
After a month off you can’t jump straight back into drinking like you were before. It won’t do you any favours and will probably lead to a hangover from hell spanning multiple days – take it from us. Use the Try Dry app or keep a drinking diary to see how much you’re drinking as you restart. To slow you down, why not try planning a soft drink between every alcoholic one at first?
Make a plan
It might sound strange to sit down and make a plan about your drinking, but trust us – it’s worth it. By working out what your goals are, and how you aim to achieve them, you’re more likely to be successful.
Keep track in a diary or on an app
This way you’ll be able to see if your drinking is creeping up, and make changes accordingly.
Have strategies in place for when cravings strike
If you know you’re prone to drinking a lot on the weekend, think about how you can limit that. If you always drink more on a video call with your friends, consider how you could drink a bit less. Now that you’ve done Dry January, you already know you can handle these situations. Apply those same skills here and you’re good to go!”
If, like me, moderating still doesn't work... I'd urge you to seriously question alcohol's place in your life
Sobriety is always an option, and a pretty bloody incredible one, too.
Full Article from Alcohol Change UK: