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Four tips for your dry January

Experts offer tips for those taking part in a 'dry January'.
Are you giving alcohol a pass this month? Get some tips from the experts on making the most of a dry January. Photo: Metro Creative Connection

The New Year is a time of change, and while many focus on physical fitness or diet goals, others may be focused on sobriety, or at least an alcohol-free month to kick-start a year of healthier habits. Psychotherapist Dr. Teralyn Sell and her husband Steven Sell, a recovery coach, say a long-term resolution can be a recipe for disaster, so instead of setting a huge lifetime goal, set a weekly or monthly goal, such as a 'Dry January'.

"Make sure the goals aren’t just whether you will drink or not. Set goals that address nutritional changes and the management of emotions too,” said Sell.

Coach Steven Sell highlights the overall health benefits of taking part in a “Dry January”: 

“Dry January is a great time to evaluate the role that alcohol plays in your life. But, don’t be fooled, you might have a drinking problem that spans beyond Dry January;  If you are engaging in Dry January, use it to evaluate that power and the role alcohol plays in your life. Don’t just use it to white knuckle the next 30 days to prove that you don’t have a problem.”

Here are the Sell's top 4 resolution recommendations:

TIP #1: Journal daily  

Have a resolution in Dry January to journal daily. This will be a great time to really explore the role that alcohol has in your life. Journal about how your body feels without alcohol in it. We don’t realize how crappy we feel until we don’t feel crappy anymore. 

TIP #2: Tell someone what your goal is  

Let a close friend or loved one know what your goal is around alcohol. The idea of letting someone else in on your desire to change your relationship with alcohol can be very empowering. There is also a level of accountability there that can help to keep you on track. 

TIP #3: Remember that dry doesn’t equal sobriety or recovery

Just because you quit drinking doesn’t mean you have addressed the deeper issues that you may have that were the underlying cause of over-drinking in the first place. Take the month to explore your relationship with alcohol--this doesn’t mean a trip to rehab or even a 12 step group. This could mean working individually with a therapist. 

Tip #4: Add in some other changes too 

Set other health-related goals that will positively replace the habit of drinking. For instance, if you drink before bed, replace that with eating a protein snack and doing some breathing or stretching before bed. Once you change these habits around alcohol you might find alcohol to not be as ‘necessary’ after dry January is over.