For many people, Dry January is a popular way to start off the new year. Dry January started as a public health campaign in the United Kingdom in 2012, but it’s gained popularity around the world as a way to reset people’s drinking habits and overall health. In fact, a 2022 survey of adults who regularly consume alcohol showed that 35% participated in Dry January—a 14% increase from 2019.
If you think you might be a gray area drinker, participating in Dry January can help you determine if addiction treatment may be necessary.
About Dry January
The goal of Dry January is to give your body a break from the toxins that come with drinking, as well as to give you an opportunity to reflect on your drinking habits and make better decisions in the future. Since most people who drink alcohol tend to consume more than normal in November and December due to the increased social events during the holiday season, Dry January encourages people to abstain from drinking alcohol for the entire month of January as a healthy start to the new year.
Ideally, Dry January involves no drinking any form of alcohol—not even one sip. However, it’s not the end of the world if you slip up. Simply think about what you can learn from the experience and try again.
People often document their Dry January experience on social media, but it’s fine to keep the experience a private experiment. However, you may want to take notes in a journal to track how you’re feeling and what challenges you encounter throughout the process.
Here are some other tips to help you make the most of your Dry January:
- Prioritize sleep. Not drinking can help you get deeper, more restful sleep. This can improve your mood and leave you with more energy during the day.
- Increase your intake of water. Alcohol is a diuretic, so drinking more water can help replenish the water lost due to alcohol consumption.
- Find activities for entertainment. Social gatherings can still be fun without alcohol. Consider playing board games, hosting a movie night, going bowling, or checking out a new community event.
- Try non-alcoholic beverage alternatives. There are plenty of non-alcoholic options, such as mocktails and seltzer drinks, that can help ease your transition.
- Focus on your long-term goals. Set yourself other goals related to improving your physical and mental health, such as eating more vegetables or exercising more.
- Save the money you’d normally spend on alcohol. Track the money you would normally spend on alcohol during Dry January and use it to reward yourself for achieving your goals.
How Dry January Can Help You Identify the Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder
Taking part in Dry January can provide an opportunity to reflect on your drinking habits and identify any potential problems. For example, experiencing the following may mean that you are suffering from an alcohol use disorder:
- Centering your daily routine around drinking. Do you ignore activities you once enjoyed spending more time drinking, getting alcohol, or recovering from your alcohol use?
- Using alcohol to regulate your moods. Has drinking become your go-to coping mechanism for dealing with stress, frustration, anger, boredom, and other unpleasant emotions?
- Dependence. Do you feel as though you need to drink to feel “normal” around others or to cope with social anxiety?
- Withdrawal. Do you experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, and shakiness when you don’t drink?
- Cravings. Do you find yourself seeking out alcohol no matter the situation or having intense cravings for it?
- Loss of control. Have you been unable to control your drinking or find yourself drinking more than you intended?
If you identify any of these signs, meet with your primary care provider to discuss your concerns and determine what steps you should take to get the help you need.
Seeking Treatment at Waypoint Recovery Center
At Waypoint Recovery Center, we offer comprehensive treatment for men and women with alcohol use disorders. Our integrated treatment approach combines evidence-based therapies and experiential therapies for a holistic approach to treatment. We also offer a range of support services and aftercare planning to ensure that you have the necessary tools to maintain long-term recovery.
If you are looking for help with an alcohol use disorder, please contact us today to learn more about the programs available at our South Carolina drug and alcohol addiction treatment center. Our team of experts is here to help you every step of the way on your journey to recovery.