How to Prepare for an alcohol-free month
Going dry this July? Here are 5 tips to help see you through.
Going alc-free for a month is a great way to reset, concentrate on healthy living and cleanse your system. But, you don’t want it to cleanse your social calendar too. With the peer pressures of friends wanting to have a drink, plus the power of regular habits holding you back, hitting the snooze on booze for 30 days can be harder than you think. However, a little bit of planning can make a huge difference to success rates for anyone looking to do a dry month. One of the most popular alc-free months is coming up soon, so here are some insights into easy ways you make your way through 4 weeks without alcohol.
- Clear out the fridge (and liquor cabinet).
Right, so we’re not advocating a week-long bender to drain every last drop of beer, wine and spirits from your house, before you give up cold turkey. That would kind of defeat the purpose of a detox month (although the memory of that whopping hangover might add extra incentive to stop drinking for a while). The smarter thing to do is to stop buying alcohol a couple of weeks out. That means you’ll naturally run dry by the time the 1st of July comes around. If you have some bottles of spirits or wine that tend to hang around for longer, then look at taking them out of their normal places, boxing them up, and keeping them in a safe spot, eg a helpful friend’s, parents, or even just that room you never ever go into. Less temptation on hand, less chance you’ll crack a week into your dry month.
- Rope in your friends to join you for the alc-free month.
One of the biggest reasons that someone gives up giving up in the middle of a detox month is a friend saying, “c’mon, a few won’t hurt”. That slippery slope turns into a freefall pretty soon. On the same token, you don’t want to quit hanging out with your friends or turn into a social outcast. The best thing to do is get your friends in on the alc-free challenge too. That sharing aspect can be really fun, you can turn it into a competition to see who can go the longest staying sober, even after the 30 days ends. You can also set a reward. When you make it through, you go out for a nice dinner somewhere at a restaurant you’ve wanted to go to for ages. Even better, if someone buckles during the month and has a drink, it means they have to foot the whole bill for the dinner. You’d be surprised at how much the prospect of losing a bet will strengthen will power to see you through those difficult nights.
- Organise some stress relief.
A few drinks at the end of the week is a common way to unwind and wash off the stress. But, what if you can’t do that with a couple of ‘cleansers’? Do you just let that stress build up? No way. It can lead to some pretty itchy wineglass fingers come Friday night. Instead, use the money you’ve saved on buying alcohol and get a massage instead. You know what else is great for stress relief? Sex. Great excuse to tell your partner it’s time to help you stay off the booze in one of the funnest ways possible. Or, go for a run. Whatever you can. Just make sure you plan things and put it in the calendar during those times you know your stress levels normally go up.
- Make going alc-free bigger than just you
There are a lot of great charities you can raise money for during popular alcohol-free months. There’s Dry July that raises money to fight cancer or FebFast who support disadvantaged youth. Whatever your charity of choice, going dry for a good cause not only helps motivate you to get through an alc-free month, it compounds the feeling of satisfaction you get at the end by making it all the way through. That positive association makes it all the easier next time.
- Replace the habit instead of breaking it
Often the easiest way to stop drinking booze, is to drink something tasty in its place. Hi there, Monday. If you’re partial to a Gin and Tonic, here’s one without the tears. Love a whiskey and dry? This dry dry baby is for you. With beer and wine, there are some incredible options over at Sans Drinks. No matter what though, everything comes back to planning. As you begin to clear out the fridge of temptations mid way through the month before, start restocking with healthier options. Who knows, they might become more of a regular fixture after the month too, making those healthier habits and their benefits last all the way through the year.
Either way, happy planning, happy detoxing, and remember to still have fun through the month!