Dry January Fail? Learn About Your Drinking
If you fail to complete Dry January, this will tell you more about your relationship with alcohol than had you succeeded.
A new study conducted by Alcohol Change UK showed that a whopping 9 million people in the UK planned to give up alcohol during January 2023 for the entire month. Whilst some will complete this challenge with ease, many may struggle and a few find it impossible.
If you are reading this, perhaps you fell off the wagon as quickly as you climbed on it. On the other hand, you may have completed most of the month but given into temptation once or twice along the way. Nevertheless, Dry January will have offered more than simply labelling yourself as a failure; there are valuable lessons to be gained from the experience.
Sober Curious Or Need To Be Sober?
One of the main reasons many people fail to complete Dry January is that they do not fully commit to it. Rather, they see it as a trendy way to kick off the new year with a healthier start. Of course, reducing your alcohol intake on any level will have moderate benefits, but quitting entirely will see the optimum results. This is especially true for those that are considered high-risk drinkers.
If you are a regular and heavy drinker, being sober will have perhaps been more challenging than you realised. Maybe it highlighted why you drank so much in the first place. Learning to deal with stress and social situations without alcohol isn't always easy. If this is you, it might explain why you failed to complete Dry January. It will have given you some valuable insight as to why you rely on alcohol.
Your reasons for attempting to stay sober in the first place also matter. For some people, alcohol has become problematic and there is a real urgency to stop drinking. Stopping drinking when others are joining in fosters a feeling of not being alone. However, for a person with an alcohol use disorder, this feeling of unity will have been distant and fleeting. In short, it will have been insufficient.
Most People Fail To Complete Dry January
The reality is that most people who attempt the challenge fail to complete Dry January. A 2021 survey showed that the average person only lasted 10 days into Dry January before they gave up, and one in ten had already given up by January 3rd. Does this mean that all of these people have a problem with alcohol? Not necessarily, you can only draw from your own experience.
What most people forget is that alcohol is a highly addictive substance. When dependence forms, alcohol withdrawal symptoms kick in quickly when you attempt to stop.
Perhaps giving up alcohol caused you sleeping difficulties or caused you to feel anxious, stressed or easily irritated. That being the case it is possible you may have a physical dependence on it. If you have failed Dry January because of this, do not judge yourself harshly. Physical alcohol dependence is a serious condition that requires medical and psychological input to overcome.
Someone who has an alcohol dependence is not advised to quit drinking suddenly, as in cutting out all alcohol at once. Instead, their drinking should be tapered down over a period of days. If they find themselves unable to do this or suffer from severe physical or mental withdrawal symptoms, then a medical alcohol detox is strongly recommended.
It’s Not A Fail If You Try Again
If you fail to make it through Dry January, try again. This time you will have more awareness around potential triggers that could have you reaching for the booze. You can also learn some handy tips on how to say no to alcohol from our Knowledge hub. Additionally, if you suffered withdrawal symptoms upon stopping alcohol, then this is a cue to seek medical assistance.
Before you attempt to go sober once again, ensure you have enough of the right support in place. This will increase your chances of remaining sober. Many people who struggle to control their drinking find support groups such as SMART Recovery or Alcoholics Anonymous extremely helpful. Additionally, we have our own recovery-focused community that can support you on your journey. They can share with you how they have remained sober whilst facing everyday challenges.
For a complete lifestyle overhaul, our Wellness Hub is designed to support addiction recovery and is delivered by experts in the field. You can benefit from meditation, nutrition, breathwork, coaching, stress reduction, yoga and fitness on demand. All of these tools are proven to help reduce cravings and improve the well-being of mind body and spirit.
Having support from like-minded others really does make all the difference in sobriety. If this was lacking in your first attempt, don't give up, keep trying and connect with us today. This time next year you could be looking at a whole year free of alcohol, and an infinitely better life to match it.