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  • Writer's pictureLisa Magnuson

Try Dry January??

It's that season again when we reflect on the year we are bringing to a close and look forward to a fresh start in a new year. Some of us have had major successes this past year, while others may have suffered a loss or slogged through the months, anticipating the new chapter a new year promises.

It's well known that January is prime time for resolutions made (and often broken) but our original intentions are always solid. The part where the resolution making falls apart is in the consistent habit building (or remodeling) that it takes to make a new course of action become ingrained. I wish I had the magic bullet to solve this persistent problem, unfortunately it's easily discussed and even understood, but much more difficult to practice.

I wrote a blog article last year about being sober curious, and it was read by many of you. The use (or lack thereof) of alcohol is a very controversial topic with people landing on both extremes and many of us fall somewhere in the middle.

With the holidays and all of it's gluttonous eating and drinking behind us, January is a great month to think about a reset. For many people, that takes the form of a diet, but what we drink can be just as important as what we eat.

Dry January is a great way to take a break from alcohol without having to explain your reasoning to all your friends and family. It's become an expected tradition for many of us and it's the easiest month to do it since there is a large consortium of like-minded people doing it at the same time. There is strength in numbers and if you have a group of people you usually have cocktails with and you all switch to mocktails for a month, it's much easier to stick to your resolution for the whole duration.

Plus, there is an end date. You don't have to sign up for a whole year of non-drinking, just one month. After that time, you can reflect about how you felt during your month off and if perhaps you want to continue to abstain from alcohol completely or merely drink in moderation. Either way, you will have given your organs a well deserved break from having to filter all those toxins and you may have lost a few pounds as an added bonus.

If you are considering this option for yourself, here are a few tricks that I have found helpful when re-framing my drinking habits.

  • Create friction- make it harder to have a drink by removing the temptation from your home or your sight. Put your booze in a storage bin and stick it out in your garage. Empty your wine fridge and stick it somewhere you won't see it everyday. Put your wine glasses in the back of your cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind, really works.

  • Create new habits to replace old behaviors. If you always pour yourself a glass of wine after a long day, try going for a quick walk around the block instead, or find a quiet place and work some recovery breathing.

  • Reward yourself weekly with a special treat. If you are successful each week, give yourself a little treat, this could be a pedicure, massage, reading a book in bed, going to a movie, eating a good meal out, there are endless choices on what a reward could be for you. If you reward your good behavior, you are much more likely to keep doing it.

  • Find something non-alcoholic to drink for occasions where you find it very hard to abstain. For example, going out to eat with friends when you always have wine with dinner, order a non-alcoholic drink instead. If you just drink water you will feel like you are depriving yourself, but if you order something fun, it feels more normal and celebratory.

  • Tell someone you plan to do it. This accountability factor plays a MAJOR role in whether you will succeed or fail at your goal. Feel free to tell Myles or I, we are happy to help and to keep you accountable for the month. If you can enlist others to do it with you, it's even more powerful. 

Best of luck to you all in 2024. Happy New Year!

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