It’s that time of year again… Dry January where vows are made to try undo the over-indulgence of the festive period and reset drinking habits.
I originally wrote this last January when I was 6 weeks into not drinking alcohol at all – I’ve now been alcohol free for almost a year. I originally gave up due to IBS and it being one of the main triggers for me with having this condition. So prior to giving up alcohol I would probably drink a couple of glasses of wine a night and throw in a few G&Ts on the weekend.
So here’s my real life tips that helped me to switch to booze-free living without it being difficult.
How to give up drinking – clear out the alcohol
Get rid of the alcohol – put it away, move it from sight that way you’re not temped to just have a quick glass of wine to relax with over dinner.
Stock up on alternative alcohol free drinks
I was really surprised by just what a large range of really nice alcohol free drinks were available. I tried a lot of them and whittled it down to my absolute favourites – drinks that still made me feel like I was celebrating an occasion (even if that occasion is just an hours peace once the kids go to bed!)
So my favourite alcohol-free replacement for Prosecco is Bees Knees – a sparkling grape juice blended with green tea – it tastes light, bubbly and is nice to drink – it’s also low on calories!
My favourite replacement for a G&T is The Duchess alcohol free G&T – and this tastes so good it’s a nice aromatic botanical drink with the same dryness of real gin and flavours like orange peel, all spice, star anise, cloves and cardamom.
I also found that supermarkets have created little alcohol free areas, right by the wine aisle… that have a good range of drinks in – so it’s worth checking them out in store.
I found a great little online shop – The Dry Drinker which stock just loads of alcohol free drinks – I ordered a few mixed cases of drinks from them to try over Christmas so that I still had celebratory drinks but without the alcohol content. They’re well worth a look at if you’re stocking up for Dry January. What I will say is check the prices as sometimes it’s cheaper to pick up the drinks at the supermarket or order online from Amazon.
And to update – after nearly a year of alcohol free living – my favourite alcohol free drink is Elderflower cordial made up with sparkling water – simple and just right.
How to give up drinking – switch your focus
If 7pm was the time you poured yourself a glass of wine then build something into your day to fit into that slot – make 7pm the time you do a meditation YouTube video or go for a long bubble bath or do some exercise. Break the behaviour habit as fast as you can and you’re more likely to see out Dry January.
Sip water and keep yourself hydrated – you’ll feel better for it. If plain water is just too dull – try sparkling with sliced citrus fruits or fruit and herb water infusions.
Prepare yourself for negativity
There’s always going to be people in your life who don’t support what you are doing – be prepared for the inevitable “you’re boring” comments – ignore them and move on – you’re doing Dry January for you, nobody else.
Look forward to the benefits of Dry January!
Okay… I’ll be truly honest here if you were a heavy drinker then the benefits are not going to come quickly – you’ll probably feel pretty rough for a good few weeks without alcohol – and if you feel you have an alcohol problem then you should really consult a doctor before embarking on a detox due to unpleasant and serious health side effects. However – if you’re just someone who has overdone the alcohol drinking or just wanting to reset your relationship with alcohol then Dry January is a great time to do it.
So what are the benefits of giving up alcohol? Well after just 6 weeks of no alcohol I’ve found I sleep a lot better – deep, relaxing sleep without waking in the night. My skin is clearer, brighter and I have a healthy looking glow. My concentration levels are hugely improved, I’m no longer tired and I tend to make much healthier food choices and so am now avoiding that 3pm slump of energy.
And the best news of all? Well simply by not drinking alcohol and enjoying the improved energy levels, making healthier lifestyle choices – like choosing to walk more, squeezing in just 20 minutes of exercise a day my weight has dropped effortlessly by 8lb!
For more information of giving up alcohol and the short and long term benefits check out Drinkaware
Will you be giving Dry January a go?