How to stay sober once dry January is over

How to stay sober once dry January is over

The mass campaign of dry January is now a highly populated commitment, in place to start off the new year with good intentions.

Many individuals will decide to quit alcohol consumption, and its impacts, to realign, to raise money, to detox from heavy festive intake, or to attempt to reduce long-term intake. In fact, there are many dry January benefits, which has found over 6.5 million of the population committing to change.

Dry January is a highly positive campaign to complete, where a month’s break from alcohol can do your health, wellbeing and bank balance the world of good. Yet, through its intense impacts, both positive and negative results are likely, especially for chronic alcohol drinkers.

For some, post dry January, intentions of reduced intake can be achieved, where sober living can be maintained. However, this cannot be said for all, where some in fact revert to even greater consumption levels, prior to the commitment of dry January.

Research suggests that 1 month isn’t enough to change ingrained habits, linked to excessive alcohol consumption. The 1-month countdown is also known to fuel even greater desires, to once again consume alcohol. Down to these impacts, it’s important to learn exactly how to stay sober once dry January is over, especially for those who are border lining substance abuse.

Here are the common results of dry January, along with our tips here at Cassiobury Court for staying sober for the foreseeable future.

 

The positive and negative results of dry January

There are both positive and negative results of dry January, all depending on personal experiences. Commonly, those with positive intentions, those with controlled drinking habits and those who see the positive of change do benefit from dry January. On the other end of the scale, those who already struggle with binge drinking, who suffer from withdrawal symptoms, and find change difficult, dry January can in fact fuel negative results.

Positive results are commonly found through improved health, on physical and psychological levels. Financial gain is also a common result of dry January, which can help to motivate long-term saving. Long-term relationships with alcohol are also found to improve by committing to the short yet impactful campaign of dry January.

However, for those who experience negative results, dry January will make it even harder to stay sober, for the long-term. Those who usually give in throughout the month of January will be motivated by the desire to change their drinking habits. Yet, alone, by withdrawing from a consistent habit, it’s easy to see why withdrawal will be much harder, than for the average person, reducing the desire to prolong sober living.

Negatives are also linked to the fact that, for those who do struggle, a sober January can fuel an alcohol consumed February, soon intensifying as the year progresses. As research suggests that a 3-month period of sober living will benefit those with attachments to alcohol, dry January, in the grand scheme of withdrawal attempts seems worthless for some.

Down to varying results, if you’re keen to make the most of this opportunity and prolong it, it’s important to learn how to stay sober once dry January is over.

 

Looking into dry January

One key factor which can dictate success for dry January participants is their outlook on the campaign and what they hope to achieve. It’s found that those who see dry January as an opportunity to restore their relationship with alcohol fulfil the month timeframe, and also manage to control their drinking habits moving forward. Yet, for those who see it as voluntary withdrawal, for one singular month, it’s easy to see why little change can be made in 1 month.

In the grand scheme of alcohol withdrawal, when considering rehabilitation, a 1-month period can work. In fact, 28-day programmes are mostly recommended. However, this is through professional guidance, where a range of addiction treatments, alongside safe detoxification, will be completed. This is a far way from dry January, which for some, has seen to trigger and aggravate psychological desires to consume alcohol.

With this in mind, staying sober for those who are struggling may need to be reevaluated, through greater efforts beyond voluntary withdrawal. The countdown effect is known to act as a countdown to future alcohol consumption, rather than marking X number of days sober. This outlook, alone, is negatively impacting the psychological association that participants may have to alcohol, making that association even stronger in the long-term.

While results are based on average responses, we must however note that dry January can benefit many individuals, even those who do have stronger attachment levels. It all depends on personal experiences, which will also be the case when staying sober once dry January is over.

 

How to stay sober once dry January is over

As staying sober, post dry January is a key goal for most participants, it’s important to have a plan in place, full of sustainable tips.

 

See the benefits of staying sober

One way that sober living can be maintained is by seeing the true benefits of staying sober. Health benefits, the ability to save more money, the potential to avoid hangovers or withdrawal symptoms, and overall greater quality of life are all benefits you can aim for.

This is exactly how a healthier relationship with alcohol can be aimed for, along with learning how to stay sober once dry January is over.

 

Aim to avoid alcohol-fuelled experiences

Being exposed to alcohol will usually motivate their consumption. By avoiding alcohol-fuelled experiences, motives to consume it should therefore reduce. By keeping a clean house, by setting your intentions to socialise with other sober individuals, and by avoiding high-risk scenarios, remaining sober can be seen as an easier goal.

 

Have a balanced lifestyle

Your lifestyle will dictate your actions and behaviours, which is a clear correlating factor when considering the aggravation of an addiction. By following a balanced lifestyle, making sure you get enough rest, focus on healthy nutrition, actively attempt to exercise, and work on your mental health, avoiding alcohol as a craving, as a pastime and as an emotional crutch will be easier.

 

Have healthy coping strategies in place

If you struggle with excessive drinking, prior to dry January, it’s important that you have healthy coping strategies, in place, ready to support any cravings. Finding a coping strategy that personally works for you is recommended, which can be anything from a new hobby to meditation, to exercise and to mental stimulation.

 

Aim for a better relationship with alcohol

Aiming to stay sober once dry January is over may feel harder than it should be. In fact, your psychological doubts can hinder your capabilities, even if your body is set for sober living. By setting your intentions, and powering your mindset to achieve them, you’ll be able to slowly aim for a better relationship with alcohol.

 

Use online resources and support platforms

Throughout dry January, you may have felt motivated to continue your sobriety. After all, millions of other individuals will have been alongside you, posting across social media, offering encouragement and accountability.

By using online resources and support platforms, you can share your intentions to stay sober, while actively sourcing ongoing support. This is a great way to continue your aims, by backing them up with responsibility.

 

Reach out for professional support if you’re struggling

If you are truly struggling to maintain sobriety post dry January, please remember that professional support is available. At Cassiobury Court, we offer support services and treatment for those struggling through substance abuse and addiction. If you’re crossing over to a habit, we can guide you towards sober living through a tailored recovery programme.

While January may have supported your intentions, it’s easy to see how habits can slip once the countdown returns to 0. Be easy on yourself, while acknowledging your problems and considering ongoing support.

Staying sober for the average person is doable. However, for some, remaining sober can be a significant challenge, requiring some lifestyle changes. If you’re struggling, utilise the above steps and learn how to stay sober once dry January is over and its mass campaign of support. Alternatively consider professional support with the intentions to make sober living the norm for you.

 

Sources:

https://alcoholchange.org.uk/blog/2020/press-release-6-5-million-people-plan-to-do-dry-january-2021-up-from-3-9-million-in-2020

https://www.priorygroup.com/media-centre/how-to-stay-sober-once-dry-january-has-ended

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46949102

John Gillen is a leading addiction treatment expert with over 15 years’ experience in providing evidence-based treatment methods for individuals throughout the UK. John is also the co-author of the book, 'The Secret Disease of Addiction' which delves into how the addictive mind works and what treatment techniques work best.