So you’re one of the disciplined and noble among us who has vowed to undertake a Dry January, but three weeks in, you’ve hit a tipping point. It doesn’t make sense anymore. Your weekends are lackluster. What is life even?
Perhaps the health benefits aren’t yet obvious. The whites of yours look no whiter, your complexion glows (but didn’t it always?), you’ve lost at least five pounds -- but that’s because you hit the gym hard, you argue. Whatever the case, you need a pick-me-up, and not in the form of a Long Island.
We got you.
Get back on track with these five steps to keep your Dry January alive.
Remind yourself why you’re doing this. You didn’t choose to suffer for nothing. Put yourself back in your shoes on January 1st. Why did you choose this life of refraining from ethanol? What goals did you set out at the beginning of your journey through hops celibacy? Put yourself back in that early January mindset and write down your goals as if it was the first time.
Then make another list of the purported health benefits. Next to the first list, begin itemizing all the health benefits you have understood to come from going sober. Most importantly, supplement that list with actual research into the health benefits of staying clear of alcohol for days, weeks, and months.
Now, pull out the calendar. Circle the nights where you have nothing to do the next morning. No classes, obligations to wake up for, or league games. These will be your most vulnerable nights, and you need to fill them up with social activities to preoccupy you with NOW. And don’t make schedule plans you’ll actually end up dreading. They must be your most favorite hobbies, get-togethers, or need-to-do’s that you continue to look forward to it.
Hide the temptation. The truth is, you should have done this in the beginning of January when you set out on this quest. But now, with your discipline at an all-time low, the carrots are dangling. And how could you tell your roommates, lesser disciplined plebeians, that they need to ditch the beer in the fridge? Well, you’ll have to plead. But more often than not, there’s a mini fridge somewhere in your place, and that’s where the surplus needs to go, if only to get it out of your site. Tell your buddies you’ll pay them back six-pack fold when this is all over -- if it ends.
At the end of your string, find an accountability partner. Or, force someone to force you into it -- and out of it. An accountability partner -- a real-life person who holds you to the standards you originally held yourself -- is one of the best tools you can arm yourself with. Find someone who can be your cheerleader, drill sergeant, psychologist and perhaps most importantly, a very good friend, to keep you to your goals, and pull you from the edge if and when Thirsty Thursdays call.
You can do it.