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Tips and Tools for Dry January and Beyond
Are you committing to a Dry January? Excellent plan! January is a great month to set an alcohol-free resolution because it gives us much-needed time to focus on ourselves after the holiday season.
My AF ( alcohol-free) toolbox for every single day without alcohol looks like this:
Stock Your Kitchen Well
Always have food around the house. I have a basic plan for eating all day long so I’m never hungry. Being hungry is a major trigger to drink for me so in the early days I went grocery shopping a lot for all the types of food I thought I might want, even if it felt like I was wasting money. I was wasting money on drinking so enjoying the best food I could afford, wasn’t a big deal.
It’s best to shop early in the day, before lunch, or in the morning on the weekend, when your “willpower” is fresh. In the late afternoon and evening hours, you may be tempted to grab a familiar bottle of “pick-me-up transition fluid”. It’s best to be home and cozy at that time with your cupboards full of good things to eat and satisfying alcohol-free drinks already at hand.
You’ll be amazed at how smoothly those evening hours go without the booze once you give yourself a chance to learn a new routine.
Dry January tips and Tools: Understanding the “H” in HALT ( and the “A”, “L”, and “T” as well)
Have a basic plan for the day
Dry January tips and Tools– Be open to learning from the experience of Others — Guide to your First Month Sober: Why and How to Quit Drinking
Let Yourself Get Lost in a Book Rather than a Bottle
I love to read, and since images of people drinking so seductively on TV can trigger me in the early days, I made sure I had enough books to read to get me through the week. It fills the dreaded VOID time in the evening, and I looked forward to reading.
I still do this
Come join us during Dry January in our Boom Book Club – We’re reading The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober this month.
You’ll find more reading ideas on the topic of quitting drinking and other topics as well here: Books to Help you Stop Drinking and Fuel Your Sober Momentum
Setting Boundaries is ESSENTIAL
People talk about boundaries all the time. I used to build a wall between myself and others, and between myself and my own feelings, by drinking myself numb. Setting boundaries that allow you to not reach for a drink in trying situations is crucial. So what does it mean to set boundaries when you stop drinking?
Sometimes it means not going to the after-work Happy Hour. Sometimes it means steering clear of drinking buddies for a while unless they are fully in support of your not drinking.
I refused to take phone calls or texts from friends or family after 6 pm that I used to drunk call or text. A mere text coming in from someone like that was a trigger to run to the store and do a repeat.
Also, I refused to “help” anyone after 6 pm.
You may need to ask for a quiet space to chill out in the evening if you live with family members. Sometimes as little as a half-hour break to take a shower or go for a walk or rest and read a bit on your own can do wonders in that evening transition time. Many of us drink to quiet our minds. Meditation works wonders for that too and may be simpler to start than you think.
Dry January tips and Tools: How to set boundaries that work Not My Circus Not My Monkeys and An Open Letter to my Drinking Colleagues, With Love and thoughts on yoga and meditation from a single mom How to stop drinking away the Pain
I like to focus on sleep. It’s healing and needed right now.
Sleep when you can, and let go of when you can’t. Lack of sleep in withdrawal is a natural and normal experience for many people. Have a plan to do something during those times so you’re not laying awake in bed anxious about not sleeping. Accept it as part of the process and if TV doesn’t trigger you, or you like to read like me, do that instead. Even at 3 am if you have to
more reading: How to get a Good Nights Sleep When You Stop Drinking
Walk – Swim- Try Yoga
Exercise. I do it every single day. Even if it’s just getting outside to breathe some fresh air, or go for a walk. See if you can throw this in as part of a routine because you’re body is healing ❤️🩹 right now and it needs to move. Moving also helps with anxiety.
I incorporated a walking routine before I quit drinking with the idea in mind to walk myself sober. I’m going strong 💪 on 276 days of that challenge so far and it’s really helping. Walking is taking the place of driving to the beer store every night after work.
Maybe think about giving it a go.
And check out Yoga with Adriene – A 30 Day Yoga Journey – It is 100% free. No strings attatched. A great gift from a generous soul.
Dry January tips and Tools: The truth about alcohol and your fitness routine Alcohol and Exercise-Battling Diminishing Returns
I googled all things alcohol-free. I wanted to know what I’d experience and I also needed to know the good things that would come of going sober for a week, a month, a year 📅 even. The whole experience: physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual. Read everything you can get your hands on about what it’s like to be alcohol-free: What happens to your body when you quit drinking, what happens to your mind, sober success stories, the works! It really helps keep the motivation going and those stories are always full of more inspiration and ideas for your AF toolbox 🧰 😊
Dry January tips and Tools: read more here 4 Views from 6 Months Sober – Life is Not a Problem to be Solved and Sober Milestones – From one month to six years Reflecting on Living Life Free and How Drinking Too Much Alcohol Affects Your Looks and What is the Life Expectancy of an Alcoholic?
Write. Share. Communicate.
I wrote a post in BOOM almost every day. Sometimes I posted twice a day. Make it a priority to write to yourself on Boom for 30 days and see how you feel after. Write ✍️ about anything and everything. I posted about my feelings, I vented when I was angry, I wrote about how badly I wanted to drink, and I wrote about the wonderful moments when I didn’t want to drink. I’m grateful I was able to do that.
Posting is like online journalling to yourself and for yourself. And the best part is people will comment and start a conversation.
We need to be able to have conversations if we are going to stay committed to our goals of staying AF. Whether you isolate or not, this is a social problem that requires a social intervention. So write here. And read, comment, and join the conversation. Speak up! 🗣 every day.
read more here : How Posting in the BOOM Community can help you Rethink the Drink
If you live alone, try having music 🎶 🎼 🎵 playing softly in the background so your place is inviting and you feel your own presence, but also because it makes a quiet home far less lonely. For me it’s smooth jazz. And it’s on constantly still.
That’s my basic toolbox, yours may look similar or different, but it’s about WHATEVER works.
Day 1 sober, and even day 2, can feel pretty easy with the fresh new year dawning, but when I was on day 3, the only way I was getting through it was by establishing a daily routine. Triggers to drink are going to happen daily, sometimes many times a day, and likely at certain times. If you look carefully, you’ll find the pattern.
In the early days, I had to be inside my home by 3 pm if I wasn’t working. If was working, I had to make sure I had a plan to get home which usually included not being hungry while driving there. So let’s talk about tool- kits…what’s in yours?
Living without alcohol in our lives is very hard for many of us, but it is doable. We just have to be sure to fill that time with life.
A lot of time goes into planning to drink, thinking about drinking, waiting until you can drink, drinking to oblivion, and then recovering from that. Now that you’ve chosen to get and be AF for an entire day, week, month (maybe more), time actually is on your side.
You have a ton of time now so use it! Fill it with new things, old things, the things you love, and the things that actually do take care of you 🦋
“When you quit drinking you stop waiting” -Caroline Knapp
I take a picture on all of my daily walks. This one is from this evening 💙
Join us for a Dry January and beyond.
One-month sober challenges have become a great focus for people who want to step out of the cage of gray-area drinking and try life alcohol-free.
In our BOOM Rethink the Drink Community we host a month-long alcohol-free inspiration challenge 12 times a year! Come check us out