Self Care: Dry January is Over… How Did you Do?
The idea of Dry January was to quit drinking alcohol for the month of January.
Was it trouble-free, or was it a trauma? Did you thrive or did you dive?
What did you learn about yourself?
Dry January provides the opportunity for self care post Christmas. It offers the promise of taking control back of your alcohol intake and exploring new possibilities, losing some weight and saving some money (see more here).
If you found Dry January a great thing to do and you were feeling good afterwards, congratulations!
What were the benefits? How did you feel having achieved this? What did you do to celebrate at the beginning of February?
Do you think that this is a habit you’d like to maintain?
Will you go back to your old habits?
Or would you like to find a compromise … say by having a drink at weekends?
If you didn’t manage to stay ‘dry’, how do you feel?
Are you feeling happy that you tried? Are you feeling like a failure?
Are you a bit worried about your alcohol consumption because you weren’t able to stop for the month?
This is a challenge I faced in my life too and I have experienced all of these feelings…
I was a habitual drinker for a number of years. I’d have a glass or two after work, more at the weekend. Almost every day there would be something. Several years ago, the thought of giving up for a month would have seemed like a big deal to me and I doubt I would have even tried the Dry January challenge. In the end, I committed to one day at a time. I have been a non-drinker more than a drinker for a few years now. And I have abstained entirely for almost one year.
What did I learn from quitting alcohol and how did I change?
1: I didn’t know what else to drink… I had to find an alternative!
As a habitual drinker, I didn’t really know what soft drinks were even available! To begin with, I drank copious amounts of tea, both normal and herbal, but that didn’t really work in the pub when I was out with friends. J20 was too sweet, I don’t drink coke. Occasionally, there’s a nice lemonade or ginger something in a pub, but mostly, lime and soda or water it is. At home, finally, I found elderflower cordial and also lime cordial to drink, which was just what I needed. At first I drank it with fizzy mineral water to make it seem like a ‘proper treat’, but now, if I don’t drink plain water, I drink it with still filtered water. I have friends who would put the drink into a wine or cocktail glass to make it feel special too, but I didn’t try that.
2: I realised that I was using alcohol as medicine, more than for fun
Waking up in the morning after a hefty session, my life was the same as ever and I felt shi*e on top of it all from the hangover! Yes there was some release and some fun, but I was torturing my body in the process. Figuring out what was wrong with my life and dealing with that emotional stuff meant I could release the self-medication… alcohol.
Everyone will have his or her own different reasons for drinking. Some people use it purely for fun and don’t see any emotional connection – cool, some use it for stress release, some for ‘Dutch Courage’, some because its what their mates and family do, some to drown unhappiness, or some to forget who they are. There will be as many reasons as people I imagine.
Some people use different substances as their self-medication… drugs, food, sex, porn, gambling, shopping…
3: I used amazing techniques to help release cravings and to change my underlying beliefs about myself and alcohol
Those techniques were Emotional Freedom Techniques and Matrix Reimprinting. Don’t get me wrong; it took a while to get to the point I was ready to work on this issue. Many other things in my life had to be dealt with first. Eventually, whilst being an emotional helper at Penny Croal’s EFT training, I was ready.
I took with me a bottle of the tipple that was most evocative of times with my ex with whom I did much of my drinking … A bottle of Weston’s Vintage Cider.
We began tapping in the group and all the emotion of all those years of wanting and needing this drink came pouring out. Penny worked with me to release the craving and the emotional attachment. Afterwards, I felt different. I no longer craved the cider. In fact, we took the lid off to sniff-test whether it had worked and I almost threw up. It was that quick. I haven’t touched it since.
Why haven’t I started drinking again? For me the decision is about connection, with myself and with others. I have more self-confidence without alcohol now; so I don’t need the ‘Dutch Courage’ any more. I don’t feel the need to forget myself or aspects of my life any more; another reason I used to drink. Also, my friends and I have realised, I can be equally outrageous without being roaring drunk! And there’s the health benefits: without alcohol, I wake up clear and my liver and kidneys thank me. I don’t know if this is forever, but I’m happy with where I’m at today.
If you are concerned about your consumption of alcohol or other substance and would like to change it, have a think about why you do use it. There’s no need to judge the reason, just acknowledge it for what it is. Then, if there’s something you feel you want to address, when you’re ready, you can tackle those emotional reasons, which in itself releases many of the cravings. Then, as I shared above, you can work on your desire for specific substances. It’s a journey I’m grateful for every day.
Would you like to share your Dry January story?
Please post in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.
Do you have something you’d like to quit for a month?
Or to quit for even a day at a time?
If you would like to work with me to release your unwanted cravings, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or
07921 031 356.
Keep in touch and I’ll post more about releasing specific cravings. It may have a focus on food, but the process is exactly the same for alcohol and other cravings too 🙂