What is Dry January?
Dry January is a challenge invented in 2013 where people totally cut out alcohol for the 31 days of January.
Starting with around 4,000 participants, over the years the challenge has grown in popularity. In 2021 around 130,000 people took part.
Does Dry January work?
There is evidence to suggest that taking a month alcohol-free can have a positive impact on your health.
A study in the British Medical Journal took blood tests from Dry January participants and found less proteins linked to blood cancer, along with lower blood pressure, cholesterol.
There was even a reduced risk of diabetes.
However, dry January isn’t for everyone. Other research suggests that it takes 66 days on average to form a new habit, so 30 days off may simply see you going back to old habits later.
With that in mind, reducing your alcohol intake over a longer period may be a stronger tactic.
In any case, if you’re thinking of trying Dry January, try these simple tips for success.
How to Succeed at Dry January
Remove Alcohol from Reach
Whilst this may seem obvious, it always amazes us the amount of people who attempt Dry January without taking advantage of this easy win.
Let’s face it, if you’re seeing a bottle of beer every time you open the fridge or walk past a wine rack as you enter the kitchen, you’re going to find it harder to ignore those impulses.
Now, we’re not saying pour the booze down the sink!
A less extreme yet effective tactic is to move alcohol to an area which you’re not often using. A garage or garden shed is perfect.
If that’s too much effort, opt for moving your drink to a cupboard. Out of sight, out of mind as they say.
What do you do with the empty shelf space? Well, this leads us on nicely to our next tip.
Replace With Alcohol Free Options
There is now a whole raft of alcohol-free options available, with more launching every year.
From non-alcoholic beers which are now becoming more available in pubs and restaurants, to alcohol free alternatives to wine, it’s never been a better time to go sober.
Better yet for cocktail lovers, more and more producers are creating non-alcoholic gins, and versions of other spirits. The trend for low and no alcohol is increasing even outside of January, and drinks producers are catching on.
Check out our guide to the best alcohol-free gins and stock your shelves with some tasty alternatives.
That way, if you’re in the habit of a post-work treat or end of week tipple, you can still enjoy a delicious drink without the alcohol.
Identify and Avoid Triggers By Doing New Activities
If you’re like us, your calendar revolves around finding the best new eating and drinking spots around the country.
Just because you’re doing Dry January doesn’t mean this has to stop! As we’ve covered above, more and more restaurants are stocking alcohol-free drinks. Goodbye boring lemonade!
However, taking part in Dry January is a great way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new things.
Trying a new exercise class or hobby not only moves you out of a space designed around alcohol but is a great way to find new interests.
Set Goals and Keep Yourself Accountable
The Dry January app is free to download, and a great way to keep yourself accountable for your sober month goals.
As well as tracking the calories you’re saving by beating the booze, the app will also tell you how much money you’ve saved by not buying alcohol.
However – even with an app to help, sometimes you may slip up. Which leads us onto…
Don’t Worry If You Slip Up
We’re all human, and if you’re suddenly removing all alcohol from your lifestyle, it can be a big change.
If you end up having a drink – don’t beat yourself up.
A small setback doesn’t mean you can’t continue with your goal to achieve a more mindful approach to drinking.
Accept it, and then get back on track. Focus on the benefits you’ve experienced so far – hangovers are so last year, after all.
Not keen on Dry January? Try Damp January instead…
Whilst a month off the sauce means no hangovers, increased energy, and less money spent at your local, it’s not for everyone.
In fact, in some cases abstaining in January might lead to overindulging in February.
This can be dangerous in some cases, as your tolerance to alcohol may have lowered throughout the first month of the year.
It’s for this reason that many are now trying out “Damp January”.
Rather than a reference to the great British weather, Damp January simply means reducing your alcohol intake.
So, rather than cutting out the drink entirely, you could choose to limit yourself to two drinks a week.
We love this as it’s a great way to reset your relationship with alcohol and move towards a more mindful drinking experience.
Dry January Hacks: Mindful Drinking
You can find out more about Dry January at Alcohol Change.
Remember: if you start seeing any of these symptoms of alcohol withdrawal like sweating, shaking, and nausea it’s vital to talk to your GP as soon as possible.
We love all things cocktails, but that doesn’t mean they have to be alcoholic! Our mission to help you create better drinks has led to us creating alcohol free cocktail kits and a mindful drinker’s hamper.
Apple and Cinnamon Martini Alcohol Free Cocktail Kit
We’ve created what we think to be the best alcohol free cocktail making kit available.
Warner’s Double Juniper 0.0%, mixed with delicious apple juice, and our own cinnamon syrup which will warm the palate during the cold winter months.
Find out more: Apple and Cinnamon Martini
Mindful Drinker’s Hamper
The perfect gift for the cocktail lover – without the alcohol.
Each hamper includes eight delicious non-alcoholic drinks and some tasty snacks.
Find out more: Mindful Drinker’s Hamper