If you've never heard of "Dry January" it's really quite simple- it's when you ditch alcohol for the entire month of January. It's a tradition for many people, and it's a jumping start for people who made a new year's resolution to drink less.

Because of the pandemic, people reported drinking more than usual (I saw it as a way to support local) so taking a month off seemed appealing for many as a way to reset, including me! I began the new year, with no resolution set in stone, just the mindset of not having a drink for all of January. I was pumped and I started off great, that is until January 6th. I think we all know what happened on January 6th.

If you too are a "Dry January Dropout" - don't worry- it's not a big deal. I'm not just telling you that because we didn't make it through the month, experts are saying that Dry January can still be successful even if you quit early!

According to Dr. H. Westley Clark, Dean’s Executive Professor of Public Health at Santa Clara University, just attempting Dry January is a great way for you to examine your relationship with alcohol, he says:

“The most important thing is to get educated about the use of alcohol, to know limits and to self-monitor."

Dr. Rachel Goldman, a New York City-based clinical psychologist and consultant in private practice suggests trying again next month, and if that too proves to be too much, it might be more realistic to decide to decrease your alcohol intake rather than completely abstain. Dr. Goldman suggests picking a number and determine that you aren’t going to drink more than that number of times per week- seems doable right?

Of course, it's always great to have a support system who can help motivate you, or even join you, to add a layer of accountability. It doesn't have to be "Dry January" it could be "Dry March" or "Dry October"- as long as you try. If you’re drinking within acceptable limits - according to the CDC, Moderate drinking is one drink a day for women and two a day for men - and you don’t have an alcohol-related issue, experts say it’s okay to be a Dry January dropout.

 

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