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How to Make a Smooth Transition from a "Dry Month"

So, you’ve been taking part in Dry January and are eagerly awaiting the end of the month, wondering what your next steps will be.

Am I right?

Because I run Dry January and other “dry month” programs as part of the Functional Sobriety Network, I am often supporting my clients and our members on how to navigate a transition off a one-month challenge into their next steps on their sober or sober-curious journey.

You have two choices as we begin to close out the month of January: begin incorporating alcohol, or continue on your sober habits and see how much longer you’d like to try this new lifestyle.

You might be struggling to decide which choice is the right choice for you, so let’s discuss the pros and cons of each.

 

Option 1: Begin reincorporating alcohol

Pros

  • Resume your previous lifestyle with little change to your habits OR choose to drink less.

  • You may have a newfound opinion on your previous alcohol-use behaviors

Cons

  • While you may have gained some progress in how you feel in a month without alcohol, that progress will soon fade once alcohol makes its way back into your system.

  • You may feel like you easily slide back into old habits with alcohol.

  • You might find that the moment you incorporate alcohol again that it wasn't worth it and you wished you had kept going

 

Option 2: Continue your AF streak

Pros

  • The benefits continue to increase, including improved brain function, better energy, healing your gut microbiome and gaining other health and nutrition improvements

  • You gain more strength over alcohol use and begin to learn new ways of coping with stress, frustration and other heavy emotions

  • You gain more and more confidence of navigating situations and saying 'no' to alcohol

Cons

  • NONE!

 

Regardless of your choice, Here are four tips to make your transition out of Dry January a bit easier:

  1. Journal what your goals are around alcohol.

    Get clear on how you want to move forward with alcohol. What have you learned in Dry January that you want to apply as you move forward on your journey? What feelings and emotions come up as you think about what’s next? Spend 15-20 minutes on this exercise and you’ll be amazed how much you have learned in this month!

  2. Find a source of accountability or support.

    Having someone to stay accountable to or gain support from is key to making progress on your sober-curious or alcohol-free journey. If you don’t already have a friend or support system, consider joining an online group, like my Functional Sobriety Network, or another sober-curious community. This not only helps support your goals, but also provides additional resources to support your next steps.

  3. Be careful when setting “end” goals.

    While some coaches suggest setting an “end” goal for your sober streak, be wary with this recommendation. One of my sober clients had originally set her date to have a drink as New Years Eve, but found herself through her 7 months sober feeling better than ever. She came to a crossroad when New Year’s Eve came around, but ended up deciding not to drink and continuing her sober streak. However, it gave her a challenge when the time came on deciding what choice to make.

  4. Focus on nutrition, fitness and wellness.

    I have found through my work with the sober and sober-curious that the alcohol-free lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with changing our nutrition and other health habits. In fact, my clients swear by some of my favorite supplements (learn more on those here), and report that nutrition is the key to sticking to their new habits. Choose a few simple nutrition tips or foods from my sober nutrition list to focus on in the meantime.


Remember that your alcohol-free journey is about learning more about yourself! Whether you decide to continue your sober streak into February, or to dip your toe back into the drinking pool, take the time to recognize your success and use the tools to find a new perspective on your alcohol use.

 

 

 

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