Dry January Survival Guide

I’ve got this drank in my cup…and by that I mean I’m drinking an excessive amount of sparkling water and kombucha because it’s Dry January.

Hold on. What the heck is Dry January? The concept is pretty straight forward — you steer clear of alcohol for the entire month of January. Once the holiday season (full of cookies, festive cocktails, and copious amounts of cheese & meat platters) ends you might be feeling a little off and in need of a wellness reset. New Year’s diet resolutions always seem to be an option but not everyone is ready for that kind of commitment. An easier solution? Dry January…or is it?

This is my second year participating in Dry January and I’m starting to notice similar reasons from my first go around for why it’s harder than it initially seems, especially when you hit the mid-month slump. I’ve put together a quick Dry January Survival Guide with 3 challenging lessons that I have learned in the past and tips on how we can overcome each of them once again:

1 | It’s a month of constant self reflection.

One thing you will notice right away is how frequently you drink…which turns out to be more often than you realize. Maybe you don’t feel dependent on alcohol (neither do I) but then you should ask yourself…why do I consider this to be a “cleanse”? If we are honest with ourselves, we have to realize that the decision to drink is one we make often enough so that alcohol feels like it disrupts your health. Society often portrays alcoholics as older adults who have been messing up life for many years, but in reality, you don’t just turn 50 and all of the sudden become an alcoholic. As a twenty-something year old, Dry January is a check in with yourself about your habits and a way to be proactive about how it affects your future.

Remind yourself that it’s ok to feel the need to drink. Lots of people feel this way for a variety of reasons. Recognizing this pull and then making the choice not to drink is a good sign — it means you are in control! It may be a hard slap of reality at first but be proud of yourself for prioritizing your well being, now and long term.

2 | You socialize in a completely different way from what you’re used to.

Date night at a restaurant. Meeting up with a group of friends to let loose on a Friday night. Scheduling a time to get a drink with someone you just met. Happy hour with coworkers. Bottomless mimosa brunch. Watching The Bachelor with your girlfriends. These are just a few of many ways drinking is incorporated in how we interact with other people on a day-to-day basis. That being said, you now have the choice on how you navigate those situations by knowing your comfort level for which you are willing to put yourself in and which you should avoid.

Try out new things! Dry January doesn’t mean you have to be cooped up in your home all alone. In fact, it gives you the opportunity to do things with others that you may not have been able to do before — go rock climbing, host a game night, attend a musical…the options are endless!

3 | You learn a lot (both good and bad) about the people you surround yourself with.

Never have I wanted the ability to turn water into wine more than during Dry January. While you’re going through your internal struggle, who you surround yourself with is a big determining factor on your ability to stick it out for the entire month or not. I’ve found that a lot of my friends and family are supportive and encouraging but there is always a few that aren’t. From those people, you get a lot of comments like:

“You don’t want a cocktail? You’re joking.”
“Just have ONE drink with me!”
“Oh come on, you can at least have wine with dinner.”
“I’m just so bummed we can’t go out to the bar.”

Responses like that come from people who are only thinking about themselves and how your decision affects them. It makes you think twice about your relationships, which can be discouraging.

Focus inward on what is most important to you. I am a full believer that “your vibe attracts your tribe” aka believe in yourself and others will follow. If you do things that make you happy and fuel your determination, the right people will be by your side. As for the others, reassess in February if you still want to them to roll in your squad or not.

To all my fellow Dry January-ers…we are so close! Craving a cocktail? Try out my favorite mocktail recipe as a last push to finish out the month strong:

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