How to Prepare for Dry January
Dry January is an annual tradition for some and an exploration into sobriety for others. If this is your first time participating these Dry January tips may help.
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.”
— James Clear, author of Atomic Habits
Dry January is an annual tradition for some, and an exploration into the benefits of a life without alcohol for the sober curious. Its origin is as a wellness challenge that offers a 'reset' from the holidays, and a good way to start off the new year. Most importantly, however, it has become the first step in a journey to a life of sobriety for so many. Here are some Dry January tips you'll want to know when preparing for this valuable time of year. Consider what you are getting, over what you are giving up.
Don’t Just Wing It
Less than 8% of Americans actually stick to their new year’s resolutions each year. According to James Clear, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Atomic Habits, one of the main reasons this is true is because people tend to focus on the goal, but don’t address the systems they have in place. What does this mean? Systems are how you have your life set up. So, when it comes to Dry January or sobriety in general, systems would refer to:
- Removing alcohol from your home
- Scheduling alternative activities for the time(s) of day when you typically turn to alcohol, e.g. after work, Friday nights, or on Sunday while watching football
- Informing people who you typically drink with that you’re participating in Dry January and won’t be drinking this month, and asking for their support
To set yourself up for success, make a real plan that addresses the systems in your life that support your drinking, and adjust those systems or create new ones that support staying alcohol-free.
Avoid Potential Addiction Triggers
Part of addressing the systems you have in place means being aware of and avoiding your triggers. There are many addiction triggers that could cause stress and tempt you into opting out of Dry January early. Parties and get-togethers involving alcohol are often the most common, but there are other potential concerns, as well. Identifying your main triggers is very important, as is knowing which are the ones you have to avoid and which are the ones you can simply plan for. Being conscious of your relationships with triggers and temptations allows you to be better prepared for the month ahead.
Participate in Fun, Alcohol-Free Activities
There are plenty of things to do during Dry January (and throughout life) that don't involve alcohol. This is a great time to expand the ways in which you spend your “free time”. Start by taking a look at the entertainment and activity options for adults in your area, making plans with friends or family members, or starting up a new hobby. You can focus on the types of things you really enjoy, or learn something new that you've always been curious about. When you give yourself permission to be open to new ideas you’ll be surprised at the opportunities that present themselves.
Be Aware of Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms
Alcohol withdrawal can be very serious, and even fatal. If you're used to drinking heavily, and decide to avoid alcohol entirely in January, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Minor symptoms are manageable and expected, but there are more severe problems that can actually put your health at risk. Make sure you understand what to look for, so you can reduce any serious risks from detoxing. You may want to discuss the best way for you to wean yourself off of alcohol with your medical professional, and if you experience serious alcohol withdrawal symptoms, seek immediate medical help.
Find a Strong Support System
Having a sober support network is one of the best ways to get through Dry January happily and healthily. The Luckiest Club can provide you with an online, sober community to reach out to so you don't feel alone. With 34 sobriety support meetings each week, and a vibrant online social forum, that isn't Facebook or Instagram, you will find a compassionate space to connect and support yourself and others. You can meet and talk with other people going through the same kinds of experiences, and get more Dry January tips to follow.
Not only will support keep you focused, it makes it a lot more fun! Connecting with other people on the path allows us to laugh, commiserate, share ideas, and celebrate. Connecting to a good sober support network during Dry January can be the catalyst for a recovery that goes far beyond one month and can help you break free from addiction.
To learn more about our online alcohol support groups contact us today.
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