If this is your first year trying out Dry January, it’s helpful to think through a few of the ways to manage sobriety.
The holidays can be a time of heavier drinking, socializing, and partying for many people, making January a great starting point for a safe alcohol detox.
To help you achieve your goal of sobriety this Dry January, we’ve gathered a list of practical tools for reaching and maintaining sobriety, especially if this is your first time getting sober.
7 Ways To Reach And Maintain Sobriety During Dry January
If you’ve tried cutting alcohol out of your life before, you may have run into a few issues and may not have known how to address them, such as motivation and triggers.
Below, we’ll identify a few of the problems you might run into and discuss ways you can manage your sobriety for the month of January.
1. Find Support
It’s hard to reach any goal without outside support, especially one involving long-held habits such as drinking alcohol.
Get a friend, family member, spouse, or trusted loved one to encourage you to keep going, find a support group with others doing Dry January, and get involved with your community.
2. Focus On Self-Care
Detoxing from alcohol is in and of itself a form of self-care. Now that you’ve taken that first step, find additional ways to care for yourself during the month of January.
This can include:
- fitness and nutrition
- starting a new hobby
- spending time with friends
- giving yourself quiet time in the morning
- practicing yoga or meditation
- doing a social media detox
- limiting your screen time
- making time for the things you enjoy
- reading and writing
Without alcohol as a crutch, you can use this time to rediscover what you love and put yourself first. This can help to take your focus off alcohol and redirect it onto healthy habits.
3. Pay Attention To Your Mental Health
During Dry January, it’s important to check in with yourself and keep tabs on your mental health. Do what you need to do to keep your mental health at the top of your priority list.
You might consider going to therapy and having daily check-ins with yourself. If your mental health isn’t doing well, you may be more tempted to have a drink.
This is why it’s important to listen to what your mind and body need and respond to those needs throughout the entire month of January.
4. Fill Your Time
If you leave yourself wide gaps of free time with nothing to do, it may be more challenging to avoid drinking alcohol.
If in the evenings you typically spend time at the local bar, and now you have nothing but time on your hands, you may be tempted to head to the bar and grab a drink.
Find fulfilling ways to spend your time, such as hanging out with friends or exercising at a new gym. Whatever you choose, make it something you can enjoy and look forward to.
5. Host An Alcohol-Free Event
Many people have friend groups and gatherings that are centered on drinking alcohol. But you don’t need alcohol to enjoy one another’s company.
Encourage your friends to engage in Dry January with you by hosting an alcohol-free night.
You might go to a new restaurant, have a movie night with snacks and sodas, play games, or host a dinner party featuring special dishes from each of your friends.
6. Explore Holistic Techniques
Dry January is a great time to practice holistic techniques for self-care and physical and mental wellness.
Putting your mind and body’s health first will help you to continue on the path of sobriety during Dry January.
Try holistic methods and activities that rejuvenate your body, such as:
- breathing techniques
- yoga or tai chi
- mindfulness, or being present in the moment and aware of your surroundings
- journaling and self-reflection
- exploring art
- listening to calming music
7. Have A Plan For February 1st
At the end of Dry January, you may be tempted to binge drink because you’ve been cut off from alcohol for so long.
This might not be a healthy transition and can cause physical and mental health issues. Instead of reaching the finish line and bingeing, have a plan for what to do when January ends.
If you like how you feel sober and want to continue abstaining from alcohol, set yourself up for success by creating a plan for sobriety moving forward backed by social support and action steps.
What Happens If You Can’t Stay Sober For A Full Month?
If you make it to the end of January and find that you had a hard time abstaining from drinking alcohol for a full month, you may want to ask yourself why you had such a hard time with it.
Non-problem drinking is no more than two drinks per day for men, and no more than one drink per day for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
When you have trouble giving up a drink or two daily, or if you need to drink alcohol to fall asleep or feel normal, you may meet the criteria for a mild alcohol use disorder.
You can take an alcohol use assessment to gauge whether you meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder.
If you do, there are many treatment options available, from outpatient therapy sessions, to Alcoholics Anonymous support groups, to inpatient rehab programs.
Get Help Maintaining Your Sobriety
At the end of Dry January, you may find that your mental health and physical well-being have benefited greatly from eliminating alcohol from your routine.
We can help you to keep that momentum going. Reach out to our helpline to talk to a specialist about addiction recovery options.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Alcohol Questions and Answers
- National Center for Biotechnology Information — What is Dry January?
- National Center for Biotechnology Information — 1 Overview, Essential Concepts, and Definitions in Detoxification