Dry January – the first month of the year’s sauce-off – isn’t a novel idea, but it reached a bit different in 2021. After ten months at home, the only definite indicator that many people have done working is the pour of red wine or a cold one from the fridge. It was a source of warmth, routine, and probably trouble.
While we have argued the opposite for many years, we know very well that every drink is worse than abstinence for your physical health. (No excessive alcohol, it is simply awful to you—it can result in heart disease, strokes, and a host of other adverse health effects.) So, while drinking in moderation is certainly not incorrect, practically anyone who drinks can benefit from inspecting their relationship with alcohol to ensure they want it. These days, it also includes drinking for a month.
“A large number of people have relied on Alcohol to cope with stress or boredom, or because working from their home leads to an increased chance of drinking,” said Dr. Joseph R. Volpicelli. “That is why Dry January may lead to a deeper reflection on their beverage relationship.”
Naturally, regarding the month-long interval, there is nothing mystical. But, as Dr. Volpicelli puts it, this is a perfect opportunity to think about—to examine how alcohol falls within your life as a whole. (There’s not enough spirit for a few weeks to reverse your overall well-being.). Here are the experts’ best ideas for doing so.
1. Out of sight, hold drinks and out of view.
You probably reorganized your room for endless time spent indoors, for a sort of indoor workout routine, and too many zooms. If you wish to stop alcohol successfully, the same applies to your liquor stash. Hilary Sheinbaum, the author of The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Every Other Alcohol-Free Month, says, “When you are constantly walking by a carcass cart, or opening your refrigerator and searching for a six box, you’re conscious that it’s there.
Put your stash on the shelf of your bedroom closet or, better yet, at a friend’s house if this is hard to get. It would help if you concluded at the end of this month that the bar cart is more hassle (and real estate) than it is worth considering its good looks at the middle of the century.
2. Build some new rituals of society.
Consider hiring a partner to solve this challenge. Not only can a companion keep you responsible for your alcohol-free month, but also you have a built-in buddy for which you will do drinking-free activities. Sheinbaum, who made her first-ever Dry January a few years earlier as part of a bet with a friend, said, “It can also be your support network when things are going to be tough. (Long Walks! Board Games!)
Ideally, you will be able to move on, which is a new sense of fun, not just-drinks.
3. Find out what is not booze you want to drink.
Return to the boom of the soft drink scene. Everyone from Heineken and the Athletic Brewing to Seedlip provides better zero-resistant degustation solutions that make you feel easier to take the real deal—but not. Sheinbaum reflects, “More premade drinks are now than ever before. “So you can buy premade and spill ice over even though you’re not very inventive in the kitchen. You don’t have to lose the taste and flavor (or experience) if you’re used to this.
4. Try to maintain a newspaper.
Monitoring how you feel during an exercise in Dry January will help you recognize benefits that cannot be intuitively apparent, such as weight loss or anxiety levels. Better still, Sheinbaum suggests starting a journal now if alcohol is a part of the equation. You will note how you feel in the morning after drinking this huge “one glass” of whiskey. You can just be shocked to compare your notes at the end of this sober month.
Volpicelli states that there are plenty of apps, including Streaks, outside of conventional journaling, that can help you track your daily progress, too. “It is good to close my ‘rings of exercise’,” he says, “and here the same goes.”