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I Failed Dry January (sort of)

When I first sat down to write this blog post, I had every intention of completing a modified Dry January. The holiday season was officially over, and my birthday, January 8th, had just passed. The Michigan Wolverines were once again national champions (the first time in almost 30 years – Go Blue)! All was right in my world, except for the dreaded holiday hangover. The last several weeks were marked by overindulgence and celebrations, so my mind was set on going dry for the rest of the month.

You might have guessed from the title of my blog post, that things didn’t quite go as planned. Before I tell you why I failed Dry January, let’s talk about what it is and why people participate.

What is Dry January?

Dry January, a trend that has gained popularity, encourages people not to drink alcohol for 31 days. The reason behind participating varies from person to person. Some see it as a chance to detoxify their bodies, while others may view it as an opportunity to reassess their relationship with alcohol. Many participate in Dry January to kick-start a healthier lifestyle, both mentally and physically.

Potential Health Benefits of Dry January:

  • Improved sleep: Alcohol disrupts your normal sleep patterns and can leave you feeling unrested the morning after consuming any amount of alcohol.
  • Increased energy levels: Better (high quality) sleep equals more energy.
  • Improved mental clarity: This is a byproduct of better sleep. Cutting back or eliminating alcohol can lead to improved brain function and increased mood levels.
  • Weight management: This is another potential byproduct of eliminating alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are often high in calories and sugar. By eliminating alcohol for a month, you will likely notice changes to your overall health and possibly your weight – unless you are like me and reward yourself with extra sweet treats because you’re not wasting calories on alcohol. The math is mathing!

If the benefits of going dry in January, or any month, are clear, how/why did I (sort of) fail Dry January? Instead of abstaining from alcohol for the rest of the month – I took another approach, and even though I may have failed at what I initially set out to do (and the reason I agreed to write this blog post in the first place) – I am still happy to report that I did spend the rest of the month being more mindful about when and how much I drank. I made sure to pay attention to how I was feeling during and after consuming alcohol. I was more selective in the invitations I accepted – especially if I knew alcohol would likely be involved. In the end, I noticed that I was able to better control my anxiety, I saved money, and I made more memories that didn’t center around alcohol.

By the time you’re reading this, January has come and gone, but it is never too late to take a break from alcohol. You can commit to a week or 10 days or pick another month to go dry; experts say any amount of time is beneficial to your mind and body.

Due to an increase in younger generations abstaining from alcohol because of increased awareness of the impacts of drinking, we’ve seen a rise in the popularity of mocktails, non-alcoholic beers, ciders, wines, etc., and even adaptogenic drinks. And there truly is an app for everything these days. Are you curious about trying dry? Check out this article to discover apps that support your dry journey – no matter what it looks like – in January and beyond.