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  • January 15, 2023 3 min read

    Dry January is a month long challenge towards a sober start to the new year by giving up drinking alcohol entirely all January long. From someone with decades of drinking-too-much-too-often experience, getting off the sauce for 30 days following the holiday bender can feel like a monumental task. So how do we actually make this sobriety stick? Can it be done?

    This alcohol free movement has a few things going for it. It harnesses the pain of the holiday hangover (literally) and aligns it with a clear demarcation of a new beginning in the New Year. Aligning a new habit with a clear change of chapter is a simple hack to new habit formation, which is why New Year's resolutions are a thing.

    But we also all know how easily (and quickly) these resolutions can fall by the wayside.... And how seemingly insurmountable lasting sobriety can be. Falling off the wagon is often just a social invite away from recurring. And the Boozehounds in our lives are more than happy to offer a not so gentle nudge in this direction. 

     

    Cool Drinking T-shirts | Mac From Always Sunny in Philly Boozehound Tee | Solid Threads

     

    So we need something more to rely upon in our efforts towards sobriety than a resolution and a catchy moniker. Otherwise the ones I freshly coined for Alcohol Free April or OcSober (my personal favorite) would be sweeping society as we speak.

    Here are 4 simple ideas that might make sobriety stick...(or at least help your sober new self stand a better chance).

    1. Understand how habits work.

    In order to reprogram our brains towards a true breakthrough, we first need to understand how habits form in the first place. Here's where I've turned to Dr. Judson Brewer, who is doing pioneering work in the realm of how negative habits form and how they can be broken. I highly recommend to check out drjud.com and download his free guide on how to break a bad habit. He shares 3 simples steps to first understand where the bad habit came from, is to become aware of the emotions and sensations in the body that trigger the habit, and the third step is to take action through a process called urge-surfing. 

    2. Begin again... Again.

    Change happens over time and requires patience and persistence. The beauty of this life is that we don't need some major milestone like New Year's to begin again... We can do this anytime we choose.

    3. Look the part

    A shameless plug...maybe...but infusing some cool Dry January t-shirts to your sobriety style can add levity to your libation free look, making it easier to communicate your intentions more clearly so you can stick to your (surprisingly tasty) seltzer's with lime and mocktails in social settings.

     

    Cool Sobriety T-shirts | Funny Alcohol Free Tees | Supports Addiction Treatment

     

    4. Engage in a healthy new habit.

    Get creative. Dig deeper into an interest or passion with your newfound time and energy. In my case I started writing songs and poetry. So I thought I'd offer you my drinking Limerick with a non alcoholic twist.

    I Drank

    I drank when I felt happy and when I felt sad
    I drank when indifferent, excited, or mad
    I drank because it feathered the edge of my fear
    I drank with my parents, my parent's parents
    and most of my peers
    I drank because numbness felt better than pain
    Long nights at the Limerick House drowning my shame
    Sure I had fun with tales much more tall
    From what I remember after each fall
    Decades blurred on like a long drunken night
    To learn where I'd wake and change if I might
    Slumped on a bench outside my friend's apartment 
    Inside a random car bruised up and down garments
    A used carpet rolled up on some dark basement floor
    Or a puddle outside my freshman dorm's door
    I drank because I didn't know how to like myself as I am...
    How did I stop drinking you ask?
    Not through some sudden revelatory shazam
    But in drips and drabs by recycling old cans
    I realized I felt better sober down deep at my core
    And was reminded again and again and again... and again
    Until the day I decided I need not be reminded no more


    As a new father and a small business owner of a graphic t-shirt brand centered on celebrating the fullness of life... I know as well as anyone that this sometimes includes drinking.. So soak it up while you can. As long as you're not hurting anyone, including yourself.

    With the recognition that to fully relish in this fullness relies on an experience of emptiness at times. By emptiness, I mean spaciousness and the ensuing empowerment gained through this deeper understanding, as opposed to the hollowness of an empty beer mug. So on that note, I raise my mocktail to all those with the courage and conviction to give Dry January a shot, with these 4 simple steps to support your newfound sobriety as your wingman. 

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