It's almost the midway point for Dry January. If you've made it this far, congratulations! For many people, it's a huge challenge to even go one week without a drink. Two weeks? Double the struggle. If you're hoping to survive the entire 31 days without alcohol, but are now wondering if you can do it, here are some quick tips to stay the course. (And P.S., yes, you can do it.)
- Don't focus on January 31 as if it's a deadline. Take it one day at a time. When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself, for today only, I am not drinking. Remind yourself of this throughout the day. Remember: you only need to get through that day, or even that hour. Countdowns to the final day don't add any benefit to your experience. If anything, it enforces your belief that you're "missing out".
- Continue with a portion of your drinking ritual, without the booze. My first few months of sobriety, I would fill a wine glass with organic grape juice and sparkling water. No, it didn't taste with a like a nice Pinot, but the experience was very close to drinking wine. I'd relax on my couch and sip my drink like I used to do with wine. In all honestly, it felt 90 percent authentic. Shocking right? Most of the drinking habit is ritual vs. actually the actual buzz that comes from it.
- Set early morning goals. One of the biggest bonuses of sobriety is the hangover-free mornings. It feel so so good to wake up without a headache and a full day ahead. Take advantage of that! Go for an early morning walk (I love walking to the lake to see the sunrise), sign up for an early morning fitness class, take the kids out for a hike and breakfast, or whatever interests you. Plan for it the night before so that you have the additional motivation to steer clear of booze, understanding that it will wreck your morning plans.
- Go easy on the social night life. Set aside your FOMO for now. The easiest way to resist the temptation to drink is to avoid it completely. Give yourself permission to decline invitations to go out with your drinking friends. Yes, you can admit you're boring for a few weeks. Who defines boring anyways? Once you're sober long enough, you begin to realize it's the drunk people who are boring, not you. But, let's leave that aside for now. Embrace a quieter social life for the next couple of weeks. Go to a movie, watch the newest Netflix shows, read a new book, eat chocolate. You're not boring.
- Check your wallet. This is pure motivation to keep you on the sober path. Calculate how much money you're saving by not drinking alcohol. For every night of the week when you'd normally be visiting the LCBO for a bottle of wine, make a note. That's $17.95 saved. (I preferred reasonably priced wine). When you go out for dinner, how many glasses of wine would you normally order. Savings of $30? Easily. When you reach the end of the month, tally it up and reward yourself with a new purchase. Or, if it feels better to save it, then simply congratulate yourself on saving an extra couple hundred bucks.
Now that I've been sober for over a year, I forget how hard it is to go even a week without a drink. But, this time last year, I was still struggling with my temptation to drink after work and at social events. If you've made it this far through the month, that's a huge accomplishment. Keep going. One day at a time. It's worth it.