Dry January, a 31-day alcohol-free challenge, is becoming an increasingly popular way for Canadians to recover from the indulgences of the holiday season, kick-start a healthier new year, or dip their toes into the sober curious movement.
Whether it’s your first time participating in Dry January or you’re already a sobriety challenge veteran, this guide will help you start off 2021 alcohol-free.
Change the way you think about being sober
Dry January is traditionally viewed as “giving up” alcohol for a month, but it can be helpful to instead focus your attention on what you could gain rather than what you “lose” by not imbibing.
For example, you might think about the time you’ll gain by not wasting weekend mornings sleeping off hangovers; or the extra energy you’ll have to take on fulfilling new hobbies and activities. You could focus on the money you’ll save by not buying alcohol or the deeper bonds you might form with loved ones when you socialize without the mental fogginess of drinking.
Rather than approaching Dry January as a month of restriction, view it as an opportunity to gain new connections to your mind and body.
Make a game plan
Set yourself up for success by considering how you’ll maintain motivation throughout the month. Before kicking off your Dry January, write down your reasons for participating — it can be a helpful touchstone to return to if you find yourself feeling tempted to drink as the month progresses.
Some people also like to use an app or physical calendar to mark off the number of days they’ve gone without a drink. It’s a simple way to continuously remind yourself to take pride in each alcohol-free day and celebrate the small wins.
Many people also find it fun to team up with a sober curious friend, family member, or partner who’s interested in taking on Dry January with you. You can encourage one another and participate in alcohol-free activities together (in-person or virtually). There are also a number of Dry January communities found on Facebook and elsewhere online, where you can share tips, successes, and support one another through challenges.
Find new ways to treat yourself
Whether it’s a glass of wine after a long workday or a cocktail enjoyed while on vacation, many of us think of alcohol as a way to treat ourselves. Enjoying your Dry January means finding alternative ways to unwind and practise self-care. Maybe that means treating yourself to a long bath, a leisurely evening walk, or taking up a new hobby like language learning or knitting.
You could also consider setting aside the money you’re saving by not buying alcohol and use it to start a trip fund for a future vacation or splurge on a special takeout restaurant meal.
Many of us find relaxation in the ritual of preparing a drink and, fortunately, thanks to non-alcoholic alternatives like Sobrii, you don’t have to give up this practice during Dry January. You can put the same thoughtful care into mixing a cocktail with Sobrii non-alcoholic gin as you would a traditional gin-based drink. Check out our cocktail page for recipe inspiration or build up your alcohol-free home bartending set-up for more gratifying DIY mixology experiences.
Think beyond Dry January
Whatever your motivations for participating in Dry January, take some time at the end of the month to consider how 31 alcohol-free days have impacted your physical and mental health.
For some people, Dry January is a one-off health challenge or an annual post-holiday detox but, for others, it can be the impetus needed to stop or reduce their alcohol consumption over the long-term.
Regardless of how long you decide to explore a sober lifestyle, there’s no better time than the new year to try something new and to get a taste of what your 2021 could look like with less alcohol.