How to resist alcohol and what to do if you drink

How to resist alcohol and what to do if you drink

How to resist alcohol and what to do if you drink

  • The first Friday and last Saturday are some of the most popular drinking days in dry January.
  • To prevent a setback, talk to your supportive community, get back to your “whys,” and plan your triggers.
  • If you drink, show yourself compassion and learn from the experience. Don’t start with square 1.

The first time I wanted a drink was during the dry January of last year, on this first Friday evening.

I went for a swim in the late afternoon, I was proud of myself for a productive (and dry) week and I was thirsty! I figured nothing tastes or tastes better on this chilly January evening than the simple pleasure of a cold craft beer at a local bar.

Instead, I appeased myself with a non-alcoholic beer or three at home.

I wasn’t alone in my desire – the data suggests that the first Friday of the month is a popular day for bloopers in dry January, with most people breaking down at one point or another. But experts say there are ways to anticipate tempting times and get out of your stumbling blocks.

Most people who commit to dry January don’t stay completely dry

Data from more than 15,000 users of the Sunnyside mindful drinking app showed that last year, 35% of those aiming for a month sober had a drink in the first week, the company told me in an email. More of them – 27% – did so on Friday, January 7, than on any other day.

The organization said Friday was also the most common “first failure” day last year, with Fridays overall having nearly twice as many people drinking as any other day of the week.

“What tells us about the end of the work week for many people is, ‘I’ve gone through five days of work, and I need to give myself some breathing room,'” Nick Allen, co-founder and CEO of Sunnyside, told me.

The last Saturday of the month is also a popular drinking day. Alcohol Change UK, the organization credited with starting the Dry January movement, said more participants fell – 27% – on January 30, 2021 than on any other day of the month.

Meanwhile, a British study by water company Volvic found January 16 to be the most likely day for a January abstinent den, Good Housekeeping reports. “By the third week your enthusiasm may start to wane,” says psychiatrist Dr Tony Rao of Alcohol Change UK.

Overall, estimates of the percentage of those trying a dry January who stay dry for the entire month range from 19% to 55% — and these are people motivated enough to download apps that support their goals. It doesn’t matter that some probably falsified their data.

“If you’re failing to stay completely at zero, you’re actually in the majority – not someone who’s an outlier who doesn’t have any self-control,” Allen said.

How to avoid relying on alcohol when you are vulnerable

Annie Grace, founder of the Alcohol Experiment, a 30-day program I used last year, told me that predicting whether and when people drink depends less on the specific day and more on the person’s emotions and thoughts about alcohol .

If you’re anticipating a trigger, Grace suggests sharing how you’re feeling with a supportive community. My Alcohol Experiment Facebook group was filled with people working on upcoming skiing trips, funerals, dinners, and late shifts at work. This year I am in contact with like-minded women through “Dry Bootcamp” organized by Euphoric AF.

It also helps you get back to why you wanted to take a month in the first place. For me, it’s an important reminder of what life without alcohol can be like. Better sleep, workouts and skin are also a bonus.

In practice, Allen recommends stocking up on non-alcoholic substitutes and planning a Saturday morning — hiking, yoga class, or an early coffee with a friend — if you’re one of the many tempting Friday nights.

“Shifting the reward center in your mind from ‘I’m going to have a drink to relax’ to ‘I know I’ve got something I’m really looking forward to tomorrow morning that I don’t want to ruin by drinking ‘tonight’ makes a really big difference,” he said. .

What to do if you have a “wet” day

Experts agree: if you spend a month exploring your relationship with alcohol, you’ll be successful whether you drink or not. If you’re abstaining but hardening only to double your drinking in February, well, you’ve missed the mark.

That’s why Grace calls an unplanned drinking moment a “data point” to learn from and discourages people from feeling like they have to start over on day one. Quitting drinking, she says, “is not a linear process.”

So if you throw one or 10 back, show yourself some compassion first, he says. Then ask yourself: what made you drink? Did it feel and taste as good as you expected? Was it worth it the next day? Journal about it.

Finally, remember that there are benefits to drinking less. Cutting your intake by half or a quarter also pays off and can keep you on a more moderate lifestyle in February and beyond.

For example, Alcohol Change UK states that 70% of dry January participants continue to drink less throughout the year.

“Consider it a lifetime investment in your health,” Allen said. “If you adopt that philosophy, then one drink in January doesn’t seem like such a big deal.”

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