Dry January is a month-long abstinence from drinking alcohol starting on January 1. Originally started as a public health campaign in the UK, it’s gaining popularity in the US.
For some, it’s part of a New Year’s weight loss resolution, cutting out drinking to help reduce weight. For others, it’s part of a New Year’s resolution to drink less. Some even view it as a “detox” from excessive drinking over the holidays.
But after a month or more of social gatherings and holiday parties where drinking is popular and sometimes excessive, stopping cold-turkey can be harder than expected. Here’s some advice.
Don’t Do It Alone.
Have support through friends for accountability or treatment provider. Encountering people who say "it’s close enough to the end of January" - it isn’t particularly helpful. Make sure to have friends and a support system that will keep you focused on staying alcohol-free.
Is Cold Turkey Really Best?
If you have chronic substance abuse disorder - for example, if you’ve been drinking daily for 2 years - then cold turkey might not be best. In fact, withdrawals from alcohol can sometimes be fatal. It’s important to talk to doctor prior to doing Dry January.
Unsure if you have chronic substance abuse disorder? Discuss it confidentially with a substance abuse recovery counselor at Care Addiction Center: (630) 402-0144.
Develop a schedule to stay active. This might include taking up a new hobby like photography or joining a recreational basketball team. It could be going to the gym once a week or taking yoga classes. Replace time spent drinking with another activity…idle hands find mischief.
If you’re planning to start your January dry, how about adding some supportive treatment? AA groups, NA groups, working with a sponsor, or even individual counseling can help.
Unsure if you have an addiction or alcohol problem, or unsure if you need additional help? Schedule an assessment with a compassionate counselor here.