My OcSober, Dry January or Dry July Survival Guide

dry january - how to survive

The idea of months like Dry January, OcSober or Dry July is that you give up all alcohol for the period of a month. I’ve decided to give this a try during this October I’m  two weeks in and it’s not going badly. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far that can also help you get through your Dry January – or other month of abstinence.

1)      Anything drunk from a wine glass is relaxing. I’ve realized it’s actually the ritual of lifting the glass that I associate with the end of the day chill out not what’s in it. Coconut water was a shock though as it looks so winey. Tastebuds expecting Pinot Grigio, getting Pina Colada = complete mindfart. Don’t believe me? See that lovely glass of red wine above that might me triggering a few cravings right now – it’s actually beetroot juice topped with soda. That one I admit is an acquired taste – but I rather like it.

2)      The Allen Carr anti-smoking people also work with alcohol and sent me their book Easy Way to Control Alcohol. It’s a bit heavy going, but I did pick up on one tip that’s really kept me focused which was. If you could go the pub and talk to your friends but not drink booze– or, drink alcohol but not talk to anyone which would you choose?  Umm, I’m thinking if I chose the second rehab is in my future.  Thankfully I didn’t. But it has  made me realize I go out to see people or get out of the house, what’s in my glass doesn’t matter.

3)      But saying that…..I’ve also realized half the time I order wine I do it because I don’t want fizzy water or diet coke and couldn’t think of anything else. Now I’m having to take my time at the bar (apologies to the staff at the White Horse) I’ve found all sorts of exciting alternatives. Grapefruit and soda, pomegranate and soda, elderflower cordial. Non-alcoholic cocktails are also my new friend: I can firmly recommend the Elderflower Collins at Jamie Oliver’s Barbacoa in London.

4)  It helps to pledge money to a cause you hate: A lot of the organised campaigns like Dry January see you getting sponsored to stay off the wagon – this can be a great motivator – but, if you don’t want to ask other people to fork out for your success put your own money where your mouth is – but don’t pledge to give it to a cause you believe in, pledge to a cause you don’t –a political party you actively dislike for example. You’ll be less likely to quit if your failure benefits something negative than if the money is going to a good cause.

5) Brunch is your friend. It means you can go out and meet people but you don’t feel the same need to drink. Also, brunch tends to be self limiting in time and so doesn’t require you using willpower once it does get to beer o’clock.

6) Giving up drinking does not mean automatic weight loss. This one I’m not thrilled by as I was sure it would fall off – although that might have something to do with the coconut water, red grape juice, and Elderflower Cordial!


Since I wrote this post, I’ve written an entire book on temporarily giving up alcohol. it’s designed to be a mini survival guide to abstinence months like Dry January. It comes out in August 2017 and contains over 50 easy to use tips that’ll help keep you off the booze – plus advice on breaking habits and increasing willpower.  If you’re a bit concerned that you might be having a few more issues with alcohol, a book that can really help is The 30-Day Sobriety Solution. It’s filled with exercises that you work through on a daily basis that can help you reassess your drinking behaviour. Also check out the Allen Carr book as not one approach speaks to everyone – you have to find which works for you. Simply click on the pictures below to visit the amazon pages for the books to find out more.

*NYNHB is a member of Amazon Associates so I get a small (much appreciated) commission if you click on any amazon links and buy anything. this thing on? Talk to me, it's lonely down here

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