Practicing Dry January? Here Are 10 Tips to Get Through in New England
The problem isn't can you do it, but how you stay motivated to give up cocktails, beer, wine, and any other alcohol for the 31 days of January. It's a New Year's resolution with good intentions, but many fail. Here's the good, the bad, and the ugly about calling it a 'dry January' for yourself.
There are many benefits in participating in a dry January challenge. According to Harvard Medical School, a mecca of health for New England, you'll sleep better, have more energy, better skin, and likely lose some pounds. In addition, lack of alcohol helps your cholesterol numbers and reduces "cancer related proteins in the blood."
So how do we succeed at dry January? Wellandgood.com has some recommendations, as well as Harvard Medical School, and myself.
1.) Have a partner in this challenge. Maybe your spouse or people you live with will also give up alcohol for the month? It makes you all more accountable. That special dinner at Mamma Maria's in the North End will taste better with your partner if neither of you imbibe.
2.) Avoid social situations where you will be in a bar or at a party where alcohol is served. I'll admit this is tough if you have a January birthday, but you can celebrate on February 1 with your tribe instead at The Goat.
3.) Eliminate any temptations at home by locking the liquor cabinet, not buying wine or beer, and have your fridge stocked with seltzers, smoothies, and other refreshing, non-alcoholic drinks.
4.) Make a list of goals you want to achieve during January to occupy your time. For example, how about cleaning out that closet that's overstuffed?
5.) If you crave the taste of beer, try a non-alcoholic brand like the Athletic Brewing Company line of beers. They are affordable, and my husband says they're good tasting. They're based here in New England, too, and also have sparkling water.
6.) If cocktails are you thing, try mocktails for the month of January. You can easily order a mocktail at a bar while out with friends if you can't avoid social situations.
7.) "It's 5 o'clock somewhere" doesn't necessarily mean you have to drink. Change that evening beverage to something else you enjoy, like a walk or game, or exercise at a local Planet Fitness (OG is in Dover, NH), or work on a winter puzzle.
8.) Think about the money you will save by not buying that $20 bottle of wine once a week, or that 12-pack from Night Shift. It can add up in your bank account.
9.) Download the TRY DRY app from Alcohol Change UK, the first group to start Dry January in 2012. The app tracks your dollar savings by not drinking, and give you motivation emails and alerts to keep you on track.
10.) If you make it through January without having a drink, and genuinely feel better, consider trying another 30 days. Don't worry, the New Hampshire State Liquor Store will not go belly up without you for a couple of months.
If you are a heavy drinker, going dry may be dangerous to your health, so consult your physician first.
Good luck, you are on your way! Don't get discouraged and have a good laugh with this video from Tito's regarding dry January.