I’ve debated doing Dry January for years, but for one reason or another, I never end up sticking to it. I don’t drink every single day, but I have a hard time tearing myself away from a glass of sauv blanc on a Friday night—I deserve it, don’t I? If you’re trying to get on board with the no-drinking lifestyle, you might be wondering, plain and simple: How does one do Dry January? Rather than break it down myself, I’ll let an expert—a.k.a. someone who has not only done it, but written an entire book on it—explain further.
Hilary Sheinbaum, author of The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month, knows a thing or two about making it through the month sans-alcohol. Like, enough things to fill a whole book! That’s why I knew she’d be the perfect person to turn to when it came to discussing how to get started. The first week of Dry January is definitely the hardest, so you want to go into the new year prepared for your month-long mission.
Sheinbaum has tons of tips to make doing so a breeze, and below, she’s selected her top five to share with STYLECASTER readers. Read on for five key things to consider when attempting Dry January, all of which make getting through the month way easier. If you need even more tips, treat yourself to her book as a late Christmas present. You’ll be saving coin from not buying booze, after all!
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1. Recruit a Friend
“While taking on a solo challenge can be empowering, having a friend, family member or partner to participate with you can be helpful, too,” says Sheinbaum. “Not only will your Sober Month Support Squad offer companionship—i.e. help plan non-drinking-related activities—they’ll also be there as a sounding board to vent to during tough times! On the brighter side, they’ll also be there to celebrate your wins. And, you’ll be there for them, too.”
2. Put Away Your Alcohol
“A lot of us are working from home, which means we’re often reminded and tempted by the alcohol within our refrigerators, liquor cabinets and bar carts,” Sheinbaum points out. “Remove these triggers by hiding your booze stash in a place that you aren’t passing by multiple times a day. You can even get more creative by letting a friend hold onto your spirits, wine and beer bottles—or, if you prefer, you can throw them away entirely.”
3. Plan Non-Drinking Activities
“While the pandemic has given us limited options in terms of entertainment, there are still a ton of ways to occupy your time without a drink” says Sheinbaum. “Make a calendar of events or activities to look forward to. This can include anything from cooking and baking to at-home workouts, or building a snowman, if that’s available to you. The point is to participate in things that bring you joy, instead of drinking to pass the time.”
4. Try a Booze-Free Cocktail
“If your nightly routine involves a glass of wine, a cold beer or a curated cocktail, you can still enjoy your evening drink without getting a buzz,” says Sheinbaum. “Fortunately, there are products on the market that not only taste great, but they’ll leave you hangover-free.” Her top recs? “For wine, Grüvi makes nonalcoholic prosecco and rosé. Athletic Brewing Co. offers a variety of non alcoholic beers, and Lyre’s Non Alcoholic Spirits can help you craft a perfectly balanced cocktail—including Manhattans, Old Fashioneds and Martinis—with their range of flavors.”
5. Reward Yourself on February 1
“You’re bound to see and feel amazing benefits like clearer skin, improved digestion and more restful sleep throughout your month, but having something to look forward to at the end of your challenge can make it that much more motivating along the way,” says Sheinbaum. “Whether you’ve been eyeing a new tech accessory, a flashy pair of earrings or even some comfy socks for cozy nights at home: reward yourself in the end. You deserve it!”
Sheinbaum also points out that you can use your former booze budget (a.k.a. what you would’ve spent on nights out or wine nights in) on your special treat. “Because you’ve been saving money along the way—that you would have otherwise spent on booze—chances are, this gift will fit into your usual monthly budget!”