Dry January, July, and October months have been introduced in various countries (UK, Australia, USA) to help people assess their drinking behavior. The 31-day challenge is an attempt to help regular drinkers become aware of their habits and the effects of their drinking in their life — physically, psychologically, spiritually, and relationally.
How do you feel about the possibility of not drinking alcohol for 1 month? Do you doubt if you can do it? Would you refuse to even attempt it? If so, why?
Perhaps you would like to cut back on your alcohol consumption — you can also set a goal that feels more achievable for you. Hence, Dry(ish) January!
Dry(ish) January is a wonderful time to detox the body and reset. It is a time to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol.
The Habit of Drinking
Often people increase their alcohol consumption without awareness. The fact is humans automatically build a tolerance to alcohol. For example, in the beginning, 1 glass of wine creates a buzz/relaxation, but with continued use, you will need 2 glasses of wine to produce the same effect.
Perhaps you have experienced an increase in your drinking behavior, especially over the holidays. Maybe you are especially feeling the negative effects, such as weight gain, being hung over, blackouts, and feelings of depression.
In order to develop a more mindful approach to alcohol consumption it is important to take a break from alcohol for an extended period of time. This will help break the automatic habit and allow you to reassess your relationship with alcohol. After one month sober, you can be more mindful and aware of when and where you choose an alcoholic beverage.
You do not have to have a drinking problem to take a break or cut back. Most clients in my practice that address their drinking behavior do not consider themselves and would not be clinically classified as having alcoholism. However, they feel that alcohol takes up too much time and energy in their life, and often causes an increase in anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties.
When The Alcohol Habit Becomes a Bigger Issue
If you have drunk more than you intended, then you have an issue with alcohol. The reason is that you broke your word to yourself. This can cause cognitive dissonance. When we are out of alignment with our values. We are at war with ourselves. This is often when self-criticism and self-loathing occur. If this becomes habitual, it will decrease your confidence and self-esteem.
Is Alcohol Controlling You?
If you find yourself thinking a lot (obsessing) about when, where, and how much you can drink, this also indicates an issue with alcohol. If you spend a lot of time thinking of ways you can control your alcohol consumption, for example, changing your beverage of choice, this also indicates that you could benefit from taking a break from alcohol and assessing if you feel better being alcohol-free.
Regardless, of whether you consider yourself having an issue with alcohol or not, you may want to take the Dry(ish) January 31-day challenge to improve your overall health and well-being.
Maybe you can engage some of your family members and friends to participate. Let’s see if we can raise our awareness of the effects of alcohol on individuals, families, and the world. Dry(ish) January is an opportunity to become mindful and in charge of your alcohol consumption.
If you would like to explore going dry or would like assistance, please feel free to contact me at www.isobelmcgrath.com, or (904) 806-8840.
To Your Health and Happiness in 2023,
Isobel McGrath is a licensed International Mental Health Counselor, Life Coach, and Certified Hypnotherapist located in St. Augustine, FL.
Isobel provides therapy, counseling, life coaching, and hypnosis in person at her St. Augustine Beach office, and through Telehealth. She is dedicated to providing exceptional, collaborative care, and truly cares about her clients and their well-being.