Dry January is the annual movement through which millions of people give up alcohol for the month of January. Dry January challenges you to take control of your relationship with alcohol. When I started I never thought I would manage it but I have done it for five years and here are some tips from my experience so far:
1. Stock up on sophisticated tasting soft drinks you really like (my favourites are ginger beer, tonic water and kombucha).
2. Use your prettiest glass that you normally keep for special occasions. A friend of mine drinks sparkling elderflower out of a champagne glass during January.
3. Think about all the money you are saving.
4. Prepare yourself for socialising (when you can…) with other people who will be drinking alcohol (or your partner who opens a bottle of wine at home). Think ahead about what you are going to have instead of your normal tipple. Don’t feel jealous of your drinking friends. Take satisfaction as the evening wears on that you can notice their voice begin to slur…
5. Think about all the calories you are avoiding.
6. When that “I need a drink” feeling descends, take a moment to think about why you feel you need a drink and what it is about alcohol that helps. Experiment with other ways of dealing with the feeling: take some deep breaths, go for a walk, pick up a good book, watch TV. If those don’t work try imagining you have little pouches of your favourite tipple stored in your body and you can release them into the parts of your body that feel like they need alcohol.
7. Think about how amazed you will feel if you achieve this. You can do it. And it gets easier each year because you just remind yourself that you’ve done it before and survived.
8. If you slip up don’t give up. Just keep going the next day.
9. Give up some other things as well like sugar, chocolate, white carbs or dairy so when you need a treat you can have one of those instead of alcohol.
10. Be aware if you start sleeping better as this will be another incentive to consider having a Damp February, ie a little alcohol now and again.