Dry January sees millions of people ditch alcohol for the first month of the year - but healthier lifestyles shouldn't stop after one month. Here's how to stay sober - or at least drink less alcohol - all year round.
This year, it’s estimated that up to six and a half million Brits took part in Dry January, abstaining from alcohol completely for the first month of the year. If you’re one of those who took part and you’ve managed to faithfully complete it, we salute you. If you cheated a little bit here and there, we understand. It’s not easy, even at the best of times.
After a month of staying sober, the temptation to reach for a celebratory tipple is probably strong right now. However, the fact that you’re reading this means - we’re guessing - that you’ve enjoyed the experience and are keen to carry it on into February and beyond. So, how can you stay on track all year round?
Focus on the positives
Admittedly, when everyone is drinking around you, the temptation to partake can kick in and it can be hard to remember why you quit in the first place. However, before you reach for a glass of wine or a G&T, ask yourself a few questions, the main one being: How do you feel now you haven’t drunk alcohol for a month?
Are you sleeping better? Have you noticed an upturn in your mental health? Has the dreaded hangxiety disappeared? Have the people you love noticed a positive change in you? Taking the time to reflect on the positives can often be the best motivation to continue. Alternatively, think of it another way – remember why you quit!
Find alternatives you love
From beers to prosecco, or your favourite spirits, there’s an alcohol-free drink for every occasion these days. And while it’s true enough that not all are created equal, finding one you love will be key to making the difference between a Dry February you feel content with and one you find yourself quitting on.
With that in mind, we suggest giving a wide range of alcohol-free alternatives a try – we don’t just mean one or two, but sampling all the ones you can get your hands on. After all, you’re not exactly going to end up tipsy!
Among our favourites is Caleño, who create distilled non-alcoholic spirits in two delicious flavours. Light & Zesty
, is a tropical and refreshing blend of Inca berry, citrus and spice botanicals, perfect for zoom calls with friends; Dark & Spicy’s
warming infusion of dark tropical pineapple notes, ginger and kola nut spices hits the spot when you’re hankering for something with a little more drama.
See the alcohol as a side dish
In social situations where we’re more likely to drink, it’s worth remembering that the alcohol itself is often a by-product of the event, rather ‘the main attraction’. Take a dinner party with friends – in person or on zoom – for example, what we really care about is the flavours of the drink itself, the food, the chat and, realistically, the breadbasket. The alcohol content of our drink is unimportant.
When you start to see the drinks as almost a ‘side dish’ that complements the meal, rather than the central focus, it makes it easier to feel super satisfied with those low or no alcohol alternatives. Spending an evening making your favourite fakeaway – a Mexican feast, for example – with someone you love, and then whip up a Light & Zesty cocktail to pair it with.
Do some planning
As with anything in life, planning is key. Have a think about your own personal triggers and create a list of ‘ifs, buts and excepts,’ listing things that might allow or encourage you to break your Dry February, such as telling yourself that you won’t drink ‘except
if you’re celebrating.’
Having this list will give you a chance to reframe your thinking and shake off those ‘grab a bottle of bubbly’ reflexes and instead empower you to treat yourself in a more sober-friendly way, like splashing out on a bouji no-lo spirit you wouldn’t usually opt for.
Take advantages of the resources out there
Remember: you’re never alone!
– A global mindful drinking community
that have helped thousands of people around the world to moderating or quitting drinking, they share real-life stories, resources and recommendations to help keep you on track.
La Maison Wellness
– Dedicated to expanding the conversation around mindful drinking and conscious consumption, LMW's
no and low alcohol cocktail recipe selection is worth checking out.
Sober Girl Society
– One of the largest communities for sober women, the group organise events in the UK including bottomless boozeless brunches and sober sweat dance classes, and connect girls globally via an Instagram-based community
– Hit up their cocktail recipes listing
for amazing, no-lo cocktail recipes to inspire your sober life.