Staying Sober After Dry January? What next (3 Scenario’s)
If you have just completed the epic challenge and are considering staying sober after dry January, your mind may be full of thoughts of ‘What next’? It could be that you started this journey as a bet, because you thought it a good idea to give your body a break, or your life is falling apart due to alcohol and it was a must.
Look at these 3 scenario’s before answering what next:
If it was a bet and that’s all, then fair enough, you have given your body a rest and probably saved a few quid at the same time. But what if it was the start of something more or has given rise to more questions? For each scenario I wanted to share some thoughts because over the years I have done all 3 in a very particular order:
The bet is over:
This is the one where groups of friends all bet each other, or single out the one who always drinks the most with statements of “You’ve nor fookin chance” and “What if I do halfway”? Truth is, deep down you might know why you have been singled out and even further, if they really are true friends, you could have been singled out for a reason… You drink too much! But don’t worry, its not your fault because it is a society thing in my eyes. The question is, what next?
This depends on the ‘level’ of drinker you are, and in some cases it could have got you thinking “Mmm didn’t miss it” in which case it would be a good idea to try and moderate drinking for health reasons. However, if you have been gasping all Month and already got a glass in your hand, then perhaps alcohol has got it sights on digging its claws in further and I suggest you take a step back and perhaps reach for some support! I am not suggesting that you are to be ‘labelled an alcoholic’ but clearly you are craving it which is a sign you are on a slippery slope.
Personally, whenever I took a bet, I failed with a “Ah fuck it, you only live once” or a “Well I did 1 weekend so…” and that is because I probably knew I couldn’t and I didn’t want to either!
Giving Your Body a Break:
This one is straight forward enough, and you have likely been thinking about it for some time. The fact that you know your body needs a break is a good sign that either you are serious about your health in the first place, or, that you are already worried about your alcohol intake and the effect. This is middle ground stuff because either already moderate your drinking or you drink too much respectively, whether you are a wind down and weekend drinker or a binger (See my booze category scale).
The bottom line with this one is that, if you know your body needs a break, then perhaps it is time to consider your relationship with alcohol further, particularly if the break has affected you mentally and you have been trying to understand cravings. Alcohol is cunning and as with the above example, the demon behind it could already have its sights set on you.
It’s a must
Believe it or not, this is the easiest to explain. It is also probably the hardest to get your head around. It’s the easiest to explain because you already know what you must do and that is stop drinking! To achieve such a feat, you also must ‘want to stop drinking’ which is where, I accept it isn’t so easy to explain.
Getting your head around the why’s and the how’s and worrying about relapsing is where you need to put some work in. My posts on the aftermath of quitting booze and relapse traps will help here because, as you will find out, preparing yourself is so important and if you are to succeed you need to know what you are up against.
One important thing is to try and not see your dry January as proof that you can control your drinking and start again. There is a reason it was a must in the first place and whilst there are stories of people who have pulled themselves back from the brink and began to moderate, this very much depends on the situation you found yourself in that made you think you simply had to stop.
I will explain in my case: I had tried to moderate, failed… Repeat… Repeat… and so on. Eventually I released that moderation was not working so I had to stop for good. If this is you and you have reached the end of January without drinking then this is important:
YOU HAVE DONE THE HARDEST PART!
Set yourself another goal, read all the literature, check out my top tips again and try not to become complacent. You have achieved the biggest milestone of them all, 30 days and that my friends is a massive success not to be underestimated so well done.
If you started dry January as a must and never made it to the end and feel like you are back at square one, then fear not. Fear not because January is just a name given to a bunch of days. A bunch of days that you can take one at a time when quitting drinking. This means that you can start the journey to quitting alcohol at any time of the year and just take it one day at a time (ODAAT).
Take care and I wish you all the very best, whatever your situation…. Darren