Dry January tips to help your 31 days of sobriety fly by
If you’re looking for Dry January tips, you’ve come to the right place. There are several non-drinkers on the REAL Kombucha team, and we love helping sober curious folk out when they’re looking for fresh ideas.
So, here are a few Dry January tips to help you get going. Who knows? Maybe you’ll go beyond Dry January and complete your first Sober Spring. You’ve got this!
What is Dry January?
Dry January began in 2011 when Emily Robinson decided to quit alcohol for a month to help her train for a marathon. She noticed that one of the side effects of giving up alcohol was that people wanted to know what it was like.
A year later, she did it again, but this time with the aid of Alcohol Change UK. 4,000 other people joined in.
By 2013, the event was an official thing and, six months into 2014, Alcohol Concern trademarked the term, “Dry January”.
Our biggest tip: think about Dry January differently
What does that mean? Well, Alcohol Change UK define Dry January as an opportunity to, “reset your relationship with alcohol”. That’s an interesting word, don’t you think?
“Reset” suggests going back to the beginning and starting again. While it’s true that you might “reset” something expecting a different outcome, there’s also the sense that you can just start again and carry on – refreshed, but with the same tools and the same intentions.
One of our non-drinking team members found that a month off the booze gives you time to reflect. With a clear head and an alcohol-free system, you have the opportunity to experience (once again) what a life unhindered is like.
January is the ideal time for this. Traditionally, many people see the previous month as a huge blowout. You’re forever heading to festive parties where overindulging is the order of the day. Fun, sure, but ultimately tiring. Not to mention a huge strain on your finances.
While you’re slowly getting yourself into the New Year, take a little time to reflect on what it’s like to be there in that unencumbered moment. See how different life feels when it’s lived with that pure clarity. Allow yourself that time. Take it easy – rather than hitting “reset” and charging headlong into the next 12 months, reflect on where you’ve been and where you’re heading next.
If you are a regular drinker, this is your chance to experience a sober life and explore how you feel. This in turn may reduce your overall levels of drinking, which studies have shown can often be the case.
Our tips for getting through Dry January 2021
Learn from others
We’re not interested in pushing people into going sober, but we love supporting people if they make that choice. Case in point: when one of our account managers decided to try a spell away from the booze in 2019, we offered her our blogging platform to help her focus and inspire others.
Click here to take a look at Shani Higgs’ Sober Diaries – it’s a fun read, and full of Dry January tips.
Dry January has its very own app, and it’s entirely free. If you’re someone who finds it easier to get things done by logging and tracking your progress (including the money you’ve saved and the calories you’ve not consumed), then this is the app for you. You can download it from this page.
There are several very good podcasts out there that deal with non-drinking, and these can be a great help when you’re trying to research a month off, not to mention helping you stay focussed when you feel a bit of a wobble coming on.
As Shani mentioned plenty of times in her Sober Diaries (see above), a key to success in sober curiosity is having the opportunity to lean on the support of your friends and family. It’s not an easy thing to do but it’s certainly admirable, and Shani found that her friends were incredibly encouraging and helpful.
More than that, in fact – in some cases they were so impressed by what their friend had achieved that they went out and tried it for themselves. Yes Shani!
Don’t suffer fools
While many of your friends will be as supportive as Shani’s, it’s important to put some distance between yourself and those that just don’t get it.
If someone thinks urging you back to the bottle is a laugh, note that that the problem lies with them rather than you. You can go back and see if they want to chat about it afterwards, but for the time being, keep your eye on the prize and back yourself to win.
Examining your life without booze may be fun, but it’s no laughing matter.
Stock up on props
If you need to inject a little stealth into your strategy, try non-alcoholic drinks that look or taste like alcoholic beverages. At REAL Kombucha we make a range of non-alcoholic alternatives that have been stocked in over 50 Michelin-starred restaurants and countless pubs, bars and hotels across the UK and Europe.
If you’re looking for a sophisticated non-alcoholic fizz, pour yourself a glass of Royal Flush. It’s a wonderful thing to have in your hand if you’re going out, as it pours and presents like a Champagne and it’s full of complex, exquisite flavours, each one naturally found in the ferment.
Alternatively, try a few of our non-alcoholic cocktails. There are loads to choose from!
Up your sex life!
Dry January tips don’t get more frisky than this one! Reports suggest that alcohol decreases the quality of sex, so if you’re trying Dry January, make plenty of time for turning up the heat. Who knows what new discoveries a clear mind and healthier body might unearth…
Start a business!
OK, so it’s unlikely you’ll get something planned and set up in 31 days. However, if you’ve had an idea fermenting in your brain, now might be the time to get it down on paper.
This of course applies to all kinds of goals and “one day” dreams. The clarity of thought you’ll find will help with this, and the fact that you’re occupying your mind with something positive will minimise the urge to fall back into old habits.
Amass the readies
One of the big things people find when they try Dry January is that they save a considerable amount of money. Some put it aside for a rainy day. Some use it to fulfil a long-held goal or ambition (see above). Others use Dry January as a way to raise money for a charitable cause. Whichever you choose, there’s no getting around the wonderful fact that less alcohol means more cash in the pocket.
Don’t put pressure on yourself
If you can’t make it through, no worries! Avoid putting too much pressure on yourself. If you end up having a drink, ask yourself what a reasonable expectation might be for you to reduce your drinking during January. You may find you have more success with shorter, more regular sober periods of abstinence. No drinking on weekdays, for example, might suit you better.
Remember that none of us are built from an identikit. We each have different ways of getting through things. Don’t expect to discover your own way overnight. Our longest-term non-drinker tried to stop drinking for months before realising that the “day at a time” approach was right for him. He counted each day without alcohol as a success in itself. This year he celebrated his 14th year without booze.
Earlier, we mentioned Shani’s Sober Diaries. Shani took her time away from booze in the summer months. Not because she had anything specific plans, but because the idea grabbed her right there and then and she wanted to get stuck in.
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, January suits a lot of people’s lifestyles, simply because it usually follows a serious blowout. But another time of year may suit you. People are always trying new things, and there’s a wealth of support and information out there to help you anytime you like. There’s no need to wait if the time is now. You can give sober curiosity a try any time you like.
Speaking of support and information, here are a couple of Facebook pages that you might find interesting. Have a look at the official Dry January Facebook group as well as Dry January and Beyond. You might also find new friends and faces at Soberistas. Listen to our podcast with their founder, Lucy Rocca, below.
Dry January tips – heading into February
One thing to be aware of is the post-month bender. The assumption that you can hit the town big-style as soon as February rolls around is not a sensible one. Firstly, your tolerance to alcohol will be lower –you are going to feel the effects of consumption a lot quicker.
Secondly, by rewarding yourself you’re reaffirming the idea that Dry January was something hard that you’ve done well to get through. While that’s undoubtedly true, there’s no reason to cast it as a triumph over something negative.
Again, it’s about reflection. You’ve done 31 days. Well done! How do you feel? Did the positives outweigh the negatives? What did you discover? How do you feel about keeping going?
We’re not saying give up alcohol entirely. We’re just suggesting that the occasional period of sober curiosity is no bad thing. Afford yourself some clarity of mind from time to time and you’ll only feel better for it. Take a moment every few months to stop and reflect on your relationship with booze. You might find you need it far less than you thought you did.
Note that Dry January is not for everyone
Alcohol Change UK’s terms state that Dry January is not for those who are physically dependent on alcohol, nor is it a medical detoxification programme. If you are unsure about whether you have a drinking problem, or whether you are physically dependent on alcohol, it’s best that you contact your GP.
With that in mind, please take our Dry January tips under similar advisement. Alcohol dependency is not to be taken lightly, and if it’s something that concerns you we hope you’ll seek the necessary support.
If you find yourself struggling with Dry January due to unexpected difficulties, seek support. Contact your GP or use the NHS directory to find alcohol related services near you.