Dry January and the Benefits of Sobriety

This article was written by Nitara Osbourne and published by American Addiction Centers


January not only marks the beginning of a new year, but it seems to be deeply imbedded in the human psyche that we all have new opportunities because of the new calendar year. And although any time in a twelve-month period is a great time to seek help when battling an addiction to alcohol, making Dry January a “fun” reason and opportunity to experience sobriety is a great endeavor. Perhaps even a chance to continue into February, March, and so on. Just make sure that you are doing so safely by consulting a licensed physician ahead of time, as withdrawal from alcohol for some individuals can be dangerous and even lethal.

Dry January is an activity where the individual abstains from alcohol for the first month of the year. Although we are nearly two weeks into 2022, it’s never too late to start exactly where you are right now.

And if you find that you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD), help is always within reach. American Addiction Centers (AAC) is a leader in addiction treatment. We have facilities across the United States that provide medical detox, inpatient and outpatient treatment, as well as aftercare planning and sober living locations. If you’re struggling, please reach out for help.


How Can Dry January Lead to a Life of Sobriety?

Some actions that we take are simply habits that aren’t healthy for us. Other actions taken arise from addictions such as an AUD or a substance use disorder (SUD). Again, if you’re struggling with an AUD, please consult a licensed physician prior to taking drastic steps in your alcohol usage. However, for those who find themselves simply drinking a little more due to the stresses associated with the pandemic, for example, checking in with a licensed physician is still advised, but once you have their approval, cutting back on your alcohol intake may eventually turn into a healthy habit.

Benefits to decreasing alcohol consumption:

  • Gives individuals an opportunity to look at their relationship with alcohol more objectively in order to make choices about whether they should cut back on alcohol or remove it from their diet altogether. For example, do you drink in order to be comfortable in social situations? Or do you use it as a way to manage stress?
  • Weight loss.
  • Better sleep.
  • Clearer complexion.
  • Saving money.

According to an adjunct professor of psychiatry at the Bowles Center for Alcohol Studies at the University of North Carolina, Dr. James C. Garbutt explains that the pandemic has contributed to stress for almost everyone and that many have increased their alcohol intake.

Sharon Wilsnack, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at the University of North Dakota, shared that “Dry January is a useful tool in telling to what extent we have become dependent on alcohol during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dry January is a great opportunity to start moving forward along that road to sobriety.

3 steps to contributing to a successful Dry January:

  • Schedule activities throughout the month you enjoy doing (that don’t involve alcohol consumption). This is an opportunity to try something new or to revisit activities you haven’t done in a while.
  • Create an environment to help you win. Dispose of all alcoholic beverages in your household or ask a friend or family member if you can keep your libations at their home for the month.
  • Ask a friend to do Dry January with you. This way, you can hold each other accountable.

In the end, the choice to try Dry January is ultimately up to you. But it is a great start to what could potentially turn into a sober life.

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