If you have successfully completed Dry January this year, congratulations. For some, this may have been easier than you expected, while others may have had to summon up great reserves of willpower. However you managed, it’s an achievement worth reflecting on, and asking yourself, where do I go from here?
What prompted you to do Dry January?
There are plenty of reasons why you might have given the booze a pass in January. It may have been health related, to support a friend or partner, or to save money.
What did you gain from it?
Ask yourself what benefits you noticed. When people give up booze after years of drinking, they often notice that they sleep better, and therefore feel more alert and energetic during the day, for example. Some people may lose weight, and many people find that skin complaints such as eczema and rosacea improve dramatically.
How did you get through the month?
If you are keen to turn Dry January into Sober Spring, think over how you approached January. Maybe you switched to non-alcoholic beer instead of your usual brand, for example. If you found one that you really like the taste of, why not simply keep on drinking it when you would normally have a regular beer.
Remember that your decision is reversible
If looking into a future of sober birthday bashes and booze free holidays is just too terrifying, then don’t! You don’t have to make any long-term decisions about staying sober; approaching it month by month is best, or even on a weekly basis. Small steps make overwhelming tasks manageable, and you can change your mind at any point on the way.
Find your gang
Your friends and family can be great sources of support, but if these are the very people you are used to drinking with, they may not be the best guys to help you keep on track. There are plenty of online communities if you want some alternative ways to keep you motivated and inspired to change your drinking habits.
If you decide to drink alcohol again
A month off booze is a great achievement, and this might have been enough for you. However, to avoid the hangover from hell, it’s best to take it steady. Your body and mind will have got used to being alcohol free, so your tolerance will be lowered. Try and alternate your booze with soft drinks and set a reasonable limit!
Can you drink less than before?
If you were regularly consuming over 14 units a week, then this is above the recommended NHS guidelines, and it is not advisable to go back to this level of consumption. A good tip for keeping tabs on your intake is to record it, either with an app or on paper, so you know exactly what you have had and when.
If you really miss the taste of a good beer or glass of wine on a Friday night, why not try out some of the amazing quality low or non-alcoholic alternatives that are available.