Tips for a Successful Detox-uary

A lot of people choose to not drink for a month a year, and a lot of those people choose January to do it.

Worn out by the holiday parties, drinking, and eating to excess, a Dry January seems almost like a relief.

When I was drinking, I also used to try to do this.

(Of course, nearly every year I would find some excuse to start drinking again after a couple weeks.)

As a now somewhat seasoned non-drinker, here is some advice for making it through January.

If you are a heavy drinker, and stop drinking, the first month is the worst. Maybe the worst part of the whole experience.

(If you are a really heavy drinker, be careful. Talk to your Doctor first. It may make more sense to taper off, or just reduce your intake for January, rather than to go cold turkey. Be honest with yourself.)

And the first few days of the first week will be awful, especially if you overdid it on New Years’ Eve.

(I can never decide where the apostrophe goes on New Years Eve. is it after or before the ‘S’?)

Eventually, after the really bad part, you’ll get to a sort of “up” place, after a week or two.

I believe AA calls this the “Rosy Glow” period.

Then afterwards, you will level off, things will start seem back to normal again.

This is when you will really start to crave drinking again.

That is just the way it works.

Some tips:

If you are committed to a successful alcohol “Detoxuary”, don’t be too hard on yourself about sugar/calories.

Your body’s metabolism is going to be seriously missing the empty calories from alcohol and you are going to have all sorts of cravings. A little ice cream (probably) isn’t going to kill you. For the record, I have found it harder to deal with my body’s craving for the empty calories related to drinking, than my craving for alcohol itself. Metabolism is very powerful, once it has been trained.

Find something else to do instead of drinking. Go for hikes. Watch movies. Re-take up an instrument you enjoyed playing as a kid. Join an athletic league. Go to the gym. Exercise. In general, I cannot stress enough how important it is to find something, anything, else to occupy yourself and your mind instead of drinking.

Avoid situations which you previously associated with drinking. Go to the cafe instead of the bar. If you drink at home, change up your routine. Skip your serious drinking friends for a month, they will just rib you and give you a hard time. They’ll still be there at the bar after your “Drynuary”. I guarantee it. Though, they will probably still make fun of you for calling your exercise in abstinence “Drynuary”.

If you can’t avoid situations which you previously associated with drinking, be honest and forthright with people about not drinking. Don’t lie or try to sneak around the subject. It doesn’t work, people who drink are super aware of what other people are drinking. If you waffle about it, or try to lie, in my experience, you’ll just end up drinking one way or the other. If you’re honest, you’ll probably be surprised by how supportive your friends will be.

As I’ve mentioned before, find a substitute drink, which you enjoy enough to imbibe as frequently as you drank beer/wine/spirits/cocktails. I don’t know what works for you, but I currently like an equal parts mix of Lime LaCroix and Cloudy Apple Juice/Cider with a splash of Knudsen Just Cranberry. Have your drink on hand at all times. Bring it with you to parties. Take it to picnics.

If you are in a relationship, if it is at all possible, make not drinking a team effort. Make up charts. Cross of the calendar. Whatever you need to do, but you will have a much better chance at success if your partner isn’t next to you on the couch with a Mai Tai or Martini tempting you with a drink. If you can’t convince them to join you, tell them you would prefer if they didn’t drink around you for a month. But don’t shame them into closet drinking, or distance them from you. Keep the lines of communication open.

Also, just sort of FYI, it’s weird, but after not drinking for a bit, you may find you are hyper sensitive to the smells associated with drinks and drinkers. Things you never noticed while drinking. The breath and smell of people who have been drinking, that sort of thing. That is what I’ve found, anyway. It’s fun, and you too can start playing the “hand sanitizer user or vodka drunk” game on public transit.

Best of luck and don’t be too hard on yourself if you slip up a bit. You can always try again next year (or next month)!

Keep it positive!

1 thought on “Tips for a Successful Detox-uary”

  1. I like kumbacha! It tastes like French sparkling wine to me.

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