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6 Tips for a Successful Dry January

Many people use the holidays as a time for reflection on things they need to change in their lives. A popular New Year’s resolution of many is to stop drinking.

But sometimes it isn’t so easy to do that all at once. Rather than quit cold turkey forever, it’s sometimes more achievable to set a goal of one month, to see if you can do it. That’s where Dry January comes in.

In this article, we’ll cover what Dry January is, go over some useful Dry January tips, and cover the benefits of quitting alcohol.

What is Dry January?

Dry January is a month-long challenge in which participants abstain from alcohol. Much like Sober October, it began as a public health campaign by a UK charity. The idea quickly gained popularity and has since become a global phenomenon, with participants from various countries and walks of life.

Participation in Dry January means not drinking any alcohol for the entire month.

There are various reasons people might choose to do this:

  • Health benefits: This is probably the biggest reason. Abstaining from alcohol can lead to better sleep, clearer skin, weight loss, and improved liver function. Many people take part in Dry January as a way to “detox” after the excesses of the holiday season.
  • Better mental health: People who abuse alcohol often report feeling more clear-headed and less anxious or depressed when they stop.
  • Saving money: Alcohol is expensive, especially if you consume it at a bar. Not spending money on alcohol can lead to noticeable savings.
  • Changing bad habits: Dry January provides an opportunity to reevaluate one’s relationship with alcohol. For some, it can be a stepping stone towards reducing long-term alcohol consumption .Being able to abstain for a month can be a “proof of concept” for someone who is thinking of quitting for good, but may not know if they can.
  • Solidarity: Finally, there’s a sense of camaraderie in participating in a shared challenge with others. It’s always easier to do something hard when you know you aren’t alone.

 

The campaign has had a significant impact. Research shows that participating in Dry January can lead to sustained reductions in drinking for months afterward. Social media plays a big role in its popularity, providing a platform for participants to share their experiences, struggles, and successes.

Abstaining from alcohol can lead to better sleep, clearer skin, weight loss, and improved liver function.

What Are the Benefits of Taking a Break from Alcohol?

Taking a break from alcohol for Dry January can lead to a myriad of health benefits.

Some of the physical benefits include:

  • Improved organ health: Sustained alcohol abuse does tremendous damage to the body’s organs. This includes everything from the liver and pancreas to the heart and even brain.
  • Healthier appearance: As a diuretic, alcohol can dehydrate the body, leading to wrinkles and spots on the skin with time.
  • Increased energy: Don’t be surprised if after Dry January is over you find you have more energy. Without the depressant effects of alcohol, many people find their energy levels return to normal.

 

Mental benefits of Dry January may include:

  • Clearer thinking: You’ll have less brain fog and have more mental clarity, leading to better decisions.
  • More stable mood: Abstaining from alcohol for an entire month can lead to more stable mood and a reduction in how often you experience sadness, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
  • Higher self-esteem: You’ll feel better about yourself and your life after successfully taking part in Dry January.

 

Aside from the numerous physical and mental benefits of Dry January, you’ll save a bit more money and make your friends and family proud. You can only gain from doing it!

What Are the Dangers of Long-Term Alcohol Abuse?

Sooner or later, long-term alcohol abuse will destroy your body and mind. Everything from liver failure and heart disease to devastating brain atrophy caused by Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome can happen.

Behaviorally, alcohol abuse can lead to increased risk-taking behavior, heightened aggression, and impaired judgment, which can lead to risky situations like driving under the influence.

The impact on relationships and social life is also significant. Chronic alcohol abuse can strain familial and romantic relationships, leading to conflicts or isolation. People who get addicted can become socially withdrawn and lose interest in things they once loved. Alcohol literally takes over their lives.

Taken as a whole, the damage alcohol abuse can do to your life is staggering and speaks all the more to the need for things like Dry January.

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You are the most important individual that we can help. You matter to us in ways that we cannot describe in words. Your life has value, and no matter how broken you think you are, we are here to help put the pieces back together.

Six Tips for Dry January

Embarking on Dry January, where you abstain from alcohol for the month, can be a rewarding challenge.

Here are six Dry January tips to help you succeed:

  1. Set Clear Goals: Understand your reasons for doing Dry January. Are you aiming to improve your health, save money, or test your self-discipline? Having a clear purpose can motivate you to stick to your plan.
  2. Plan Alternatives: Have a list of non-alcoholic drinks you enjoy. This can include mocktails, herbal teas, or sparkling waters. Having these alternatives at hand can make social situations easier to navigate.
  3. Seek Support: Let friends and family know about your challenge. Their support can be invaluable, especially in social settings where alcohol is present. Consider joining online communities or groups that are also participating in Dry January.
  4. Stay Busy: Engage in activities that don’t revolve around drinking. This could be a new hobby, exercise, reading, or anything that keeps you occupied and distracted from the urge to drink.
  5. Track Your Progress: Keep a journal or use an app to track your progress. Note how you feel physically and mentally as the days go by. This can be very encouraging as you see the positive effects of abstaining from alcohol.
  6. Reward Yourself: Set milestones and reward yourself when you reach them. This could be after a week, two weeks, etc. Rewards can be anything from a movie night to buying something you’ve wanted for a while. This helps to reinforce your commitment and gives you something to look forward to.

 

Remember, the journey is personal, and every step you take is a step towards your goal. Stay focused and be proud of your effort!

What Is Alcohol Treatment in Southern California Like?

When you enroll with us you will go through an assessment process. This evaluation will look for any co-occurring medical or mental health disorders. Following that, you will collaborate with our experts to develop a specific treatment plan. Individual therapy sessions, group therapy, educational courses, and holistic therapies such as yoga and meditation may all be part of this program.

Throughout your treatment, you will have access to 24/7 assistance from our professionals, who are committed to your recovery. Our facility provides a relaxing and tranquil environment in which you can focus on recovery and progress.

You will be encouraged to participate in a variety of activities and therapies that promote self-reflection, self-care, and personal development throughout your stay. Our goal is to assist you in not just overcoming your addiction but also in laying the groundwork for a happier and more rewarding life.

We are open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options at SCBH

If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for addiction, South Coast Behavioral Health is here to help. The first step in treating addiction is a medical detox. This means using drugs to manage withdrawal symptoms.

Our medical detox program in California is staffed by caring and compassionate professionals who can provide you with medications to manage your withdrawal symptoms.

At South Coast, we take pride in offering care that is closely tailored to specific issues. To that end, we offer gender-specific detox programs, with medical detox for men in Irvine, CA, and medical detox for women in Huntington Beach, CA.

After detoxing, proper treatment can begin.

Treatment for substance abuse takes place along an entire spectrum of care. Along that entire spectrum are various behavioral therapies, support groups, and the use of medically-assisted treatment (MAT).

These levels of treatment are, in order, as follows:

Residential Treatment in California

After successfully completing medical detox, you’ll receive inpatient treatment in Orange County California. There, you’ll receive medically-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment to deal with any cravings or co-occurring mental health issues you may be battling.

We also offer residential treatment facilities in Costa Mesa, Irvine, and Huntington Beach for those who desire gender-specific treatment. There, patients get round-the-clock medical attention and monitoring while living at the institution full-time.

In addition to individual and group counseling and medication management, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services.

Partial Hospitalization in California

Most clients start substance abuse treatment with South Coast in our residential treatment program. After completing that, many desire something that still provides structure and support, but with extra space and time to oneself. For that, we offer Partial Hospitalization in Newport Beach.

A step down from inpatient care but with more structure than conventional outpatient programs, partial hospitalization offers a good balance for those looking to ease back into normal life. Clients can receive care five to seven days a week for a number of hours each day, returning back to their homes in the evening.

This way, they can recover without putting their daily lives completely on hold, receiving intense therapeutic interventions like group and individual therapy, skill development, and medication management as necessary.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment in California

For those leaving inpatient residential treatment or partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are yet another gradual step forward on the road to recovery.

With a focus on group therapy, individual counseling, and education, clients undergoing Intensive Outpatient Treatment in Newport Beach can meet three to five days a week. Each session lasts three hours.

This level of care requires the least amount of attendance at a facility.

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction but wonder how long addiction treatment takes or have other questions, call us at 866-811-5249 or contact us here. Our highly qualified staff will be happy to help give you an idea of what to expect from your addiction recovery timeline, help verify your insurance, and assist with any other questions you may have.

Pierce Willans
Kelly McIntyre
Medically Reviewed by Kelly McIntyre, MS, LMFT