Already ‘failed’ Dry January? There’s another way, and I’ve been doing it for years | Barbara Speed

Me We won’t be doing Dry January this year. I didn’t do it last year or the year before. But I know what I drank all January days, right down to the glass: his two amarettos after the New Year on January 2, 2021. On January 9, 2020 he had two glasses of Prosecco (if I knew what was coming in March, I might have stretched it to three). Only one beer on Sunday in 2019.

This is no amazing feat of memory. The data is readily available thanks to something I started five years before him at the end of 2017. .

I should first say that this is not due to my deep concerns about drinking. (If you’re concerned about your alcohol consumption, contact your doctor, or an organization such as Action on Addiction.) I was. a bit Treat and drink more of what I drank a bit the following. I thought I was probably within the healthy range, but I wasn’t sure. . It was a combination of avoidance and shame, and not as gentle as I had intended.

All the other benefits of moderation aside, the chase relieved me of that feeling – it helped me hit the “balance me” button and face the numbers on the screen. I didn’t start out with a specific goal, I just kept track of what, when and how much I drank. Color-code the calendar according to ban dates. Better yet, a series of blue (drinking) days has the opposite effect.

Logging my drinks has been a constant reminder that some are much stronger than others. Sobering up overnight means hitting the big “no sobriety day” button with a kick of dopamine afterwards.

A big part of sticking habits and their value is simply remembering. It’s about having a running counter in your glasses and size head, even during endless weddings and a series of confusing 2am rounds. After a week’s vacation in Italy, it was no easy feat for her to face an empty app. But I think it’s a useful step to just force yourself to be aware of what you’re drinking rather than necessarily limiting it, instead of judging it.

I’ve been doing this for so long that remembering what I’m drinking has become unconscious rather than a fun sponging, tallying exercise that ruins the whole night. , means it’s much harder to resort to alcohol as an escape from reality.You’re always there, quietly counting. For , it is a useful line in the sand.

Dry January works great for many people and can of course be combined with other forms of alcohol moderation. What’s unappealing to me, and to others, is that it can easily fail. I might get a little confused by how many glasses of wine I had and forget to keep track of them for a few days, but with the help of my bank statement and some guesswork, I fixed it a week later. can.

Habits that can compensate for occasional missteps are much easier to stick to than all or nothing in a dry January. I failed. That’s it. ” Perhaps that’s why I’ve only completed one dry January, back in 2016, but I’m still in the habit of chasing over 1,800 days.

I don’t blame you if you, like multiple friends of mine, thought this sounded a bit excessive. Tracking your life has a dark side. But alcohol is different, I would argue. You don’t have to drink to survive. A stronger sense of control can help counteract a culture that encourages endless drinking around Christmas and total abstinence at the beginning of the year.

Did tracking my drinking actually make me drink less? In 2018, I drank 1,055 units (an average of 20 units per week). By 2022, it had 770 units (14.8 units per week), with about four sobriety days each week.

What’s certainly true is that in 2017, I couldn’t have imagined facing these numbers myself, let alone sharing them with a stranger. So, this app definitely gave me what I was looking for in the first place: a better relationship with alcohol.

In the UK, Action on Addiction is available on 0300 330 0659. In the United States, SAMHSA’s National Helpline is 800-662-4357. In Australia the national alcohol and other drugs hotline is 1800 250 015. Family and friends can seek help from Family Drug Support Australia on 1300 368 186.

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