Having a dry January? Here are some tips
If you are one of the many people who have given up drinking for January, congratulations and here are a few tips, based on my own experience, that might help you through:
Beware of euphoric recall: Euphoric recall happens when you take a wildly unrealistic, rosy tinted view of something you have given up. It’s an aspect of craving and it’s a very false friend. The fact is, you were not actually filled with joy every time you took a drink, even though euphoric recall will try to fool you into thinking you were. So watch out when you find yourself recalling those wonderful drinking days: actually, they were just ordinary days.
Remember that being off the drink might not be why you are bored or restless. When you are “on the dry” and feeling bored or restless, it is very easy to blame the fact that you are not having a drink right now. Actually, you’ve often been bored and restless even with a drink in your hand. So not drinking may have nothing to do with it.
If it’s no good without alcohol, then it’s no good. I found this statement very helpful in my first “dry January”. If I was going to an event such as a meal and lamenting that it would be so much less fun because I wasn’t drinking, I would remind myself that if it’s no good without alcohol, then it’s no good. It helped a lot. I don’t know why but it did.
It’s not how much are they enjoying themselves but how much are you enjoying yourself? If you are having a meal with somebody, it is terribly easy to assume that they are enjoying themselves more than you are because they are drinking. But you’re looking at it from the wrong angle: the question is, are you enjoying the meal? Are you enjoying the food and the conversation? That, really, is what you need to focus on. Whether the other person is enjoying their drink is their business.
Not drinking isn’t a missed opportunity. It’s very easy to see yourself as missing out on all sort of unspecified opportunities through not drinking – but it mostly just boils down to missing the opportunity to drink. What other things do you like to do that you wouldn’t have been doing because you were busy drinking? Do you have more energy? Do you like being able to get into a car and drive it whenever you feel like it?
The thought of not drinking can be more difficult than the act of not drinking. If you see yourself as a drinker, you can feel really strange if you’re sitting there not drinking. Also, you might be prone to anticipating that evenings are going to be very empty without it. In fact, actually not drinking in my experience is much easier than it looks when we’re just thinking about it. Don’t believe everything your mind tells you.
You don’t have to be the designated driver over and over again. When you are off the drink this might be good news for your pals who will now have a designated driver to hand. If this means spending hours in a pub listening to them getting drunk and wishing you were somewhere else, just remember: being a designated driver, or how often you do it, is a choice for you to make. There’s no law that says you have to bore yourself to death just because you’re not drinking.
Get Jason Vale’s book Kick the drink . . . Easily. Just reading it can take a lot of the hardship out of not drinking. I found it made a difference to me after I just read a few pages of it in a bookstore. It’s really about attitude change but it is an easy read and, in my experience, quite powerful. And if you fall off the wagon, have a read of the book anyway – it might help in the future and, after all, the future starts about a second from now.
If it’s no good without alcohol, then it’s no good