Dry January is a Great Start – But Here is How You Continue
January always brings new goals, resolutions, and a desire to change to the forefront. For some reason we are captivated by a changing calendar year and we invoke a clean slate to take on new habits. One common life change we often hear about in January is sobriety. This is often referred to as a Dry January. Dry January was started in the United Kingdom by one woman but is now recognized across the globe as a movement. It’s now an alcohol awareness campaign that is led by a UK charity called Alcohol Concern. The organization was founded in 1984 and is attempting to create a society where alcohol does no harm. The group encourages people to give up alcohol for the first month of every year to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol and promote sobriety as a way of life.
In the recovery community, there are some mixed views on Dry January. Some people believe it offers relief to those who misuse alcohol, but it doesn’t go into enough detail on how sobriety can be continued as a lifestyle. Others believes it’s somewhat ironic to tell people they should quit for one month because of the harmful effects of alcohol, but then say it’s ok for them to return to use after January. And what about those people who feel they want to continue with their sobriety after January, but they’re not sure where to go from here?
Personally, I would never shame anyone for how they find or engage in sobriety. If Dry January gets you there, or gets you thinking about living a life free from alcohol, then I believe it’s done its purpose. But I also think it’s crucial to provide information on how you can continue the journey if you choose to. February is right around the corner and if you started with Dry January, here’s how you can continue the rest of the year without alcohol.
Find your tribe
If you haven’t noticed yet, this world is full of sober people and recovery advocates like myself. We are writing about sobriety, talking about our own stories, and helping people figure out how to make sobriety work. You don’t need to look past Instagram and Facebook to find accounts talking about sobriety and there you’ll find a tribe that you can interact with. The beauty of the online recovery landscape is there are many different people who all have different stories and advice that might resonate with you. Find your teachers and find your tribe.
Build a recovery pathway
It’s 2018 and it’s a myth that the only way to get sober is to identify as an alcoholic and go to AA. If you’re feeling like you need more support or medical attention following Dry January, you might want to check out an outpatient treatment center. But that isn’t the only option. There are also online programs, Refuge Recovery, SMART Recovery, books about getting sober, therapists and pathways that build off of a combination of these. Find what works for you and this might take trying a few different things to figure out what works.
Are you left feeling confused after Dry January? Are you not sure if you should continue with sobriety? Are you curious about why you feel better without alcohol in your life? Now is the time to do some research. Alcohol is the direct cause of seven forms of cancer, it’s a depressant and it dehydrates the body. We also live in a society that is inundated with alcohol and alcohol marketing. We are fed lies that we need it to feel good, to socialize, and to have a fulfilling life. Doing your own research and forming your own opinion about these issues may help influence your decision to stay sober throughout the year.
Commit to sobriety as a lifestyle
You are not alone in your endeavor to explore sobriety. It’s a way of life and a commitment that is finally coming into the light and being supported by science, celebrities, and regular people alike. Millennials are even embracing an alcohol-free lifestyle! If you have questions reach out. If you can’t find something that works for you, ask people who have a lifestyle you want.
Dry January is a wonderful place to begin, but your journey won’t end there. There is so much to analyze, to understand, and to explore when you aren’t putting substances in your body. Sobriety is healing journey and it deserves more than just a month.
Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, The Fix, Brit + Co, Addiction Unscripted and AfterParty Magazine. She is currently writing a memoir.
About the Author
Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, The Fix, Brit + Co, Addiction Unscripted and AfterPartyMagazine. She is currently writing a memoir.