Dry January, an admirable way to kick off the New Year with a healthy choice. But making that choice stick for 31 straight days? That can feel daunting. I should know, I've done it. Although all you might be able to think of is grabbing a drink with friends at the bar, a glass of wine with dinner, or hitting up the local brewery, there's more to do in January that doesn't involve drinking. And, plot twist, some of those things still involve going to bars.
Grab Dinner With Friends
That's right, head to a place that serves booze and get dinner — exactly like you usually would. Just because you aren't drinking doesn't mean you can't be social. Many restaurants have mocktail menus, or you can go in there with your own mocktail game plan. I suggest a ginger ale with bitters, a club soda with pineapple juice, or the ever-classic Shirley Temple. You can also go sober for your date night.
A pro tip: let your friends know ahead of time about your dry January plans. Not only does that mean you possibly have a built-in accountability buddy or accountabili-buddy but supportive friends won't try and trip you up either. That being said, pick your crowd wisely or grab dinner where there isn't a bar.
So it doesn't need to be bowling. It can be indoor golf, laser tag, axe throwing (it's probably safer sober anyway), a spin class, or a ninja course. The point is, pick something that isn't about food or drink during this dry month. You can do these things solo or with a group of friends. Who knows? You might just find yourself a new hobby.
Binge a TV Show You've Been Meaning to Watch
I myself found my now-favorite TV show when I did dry January: Bob's Burgers. I never said it was highbrow! At the time, there were just four seasons. It was the perfect show to stream whenever I was home early, but I didn't feel like doing much.
Create a Savings Account Of Money You Would've Spent
While not an immediate activity, seeing that money accrue is exciting. To make it an immediate activity, start daydreaming or planning what you'll do with that money — all thanks to your dry January.
Don't forget to include what you would've spent had you swung by the liquor store. You'll be amazed at how those dollars add up so quickly. Your wallet and body will soon thank you.
Jump Start That Resolution
Instead of waking up late or hitting the bar after work, lean into your New Year's resolutions — and not just the serious ones. Of course, yes, you'll set up that high-interest savings account, but you'll also master a winged eyeliner AND learn how to nap. The point is, instead of drinking, you'll be getting a head start.
Master the Art of Mocktails
Make yourself a mocktail at home, grab several bottles of nonalcoholic wine to have a personal wine tasting, or stack up on a few varieties of nonalcoholic beers for a flight night.
The world has come a long way with nonalcoholic offerings. You can still pour yourself that glass of wine when you're making dinner (thank goodness) but this one won't give you a headache or any buzz.
Go to the Bar With Your Book or Your Friends
No, maybe not a busy Saturday night, but the dinner hour at some bars is pretty quiet during the week. Saddle up to the bar with your book, e-reader, or a full phone battery. You're human, you're social. But also, when you aren't drinking, the people-watching becomes so much better.
Get Lazy With Your Extra Time
When I go out to dinner with my partner at a certain local restaurant, I swear that bartender just makes a better Hendricks martini than any other. But two of them, and when we get home, I put on my pjs, hop into bed, and that's it for me.
A dry month means you get home and get to do something else with your night, too! Play a video game, read a book, or flip through some ridiculous magazines. The point is that a dry month adds more hours to your day. Aren't you looking for some more time, too?
Journal About It — No, Seriously!
I looked at my own journal entries about my sober and dry January to jog my memory. Funnily enough, although alcohol is a depressant, I was super blue when I did a dry January. But when I was letting my brain wander and journaling about it, I realized it was because I wasn't doing anything.
I was waking up, sitting in my studio by myself, going to work, and going home. I worked at a restaurant, so some shifts were only four hours. Otherwise, alone. I realized how much I needed to be social, and that was an eye-opener for me. You'll be surprised at what you learn about yourself!
Hang Out With Your Accountabili-buddy
While I am famously amazing at being my own worst enemy, I do so much better when I have someone checking in with how I'm doing. I owe myself to sticking with a full month of yoga or a full dry month to friends who are doing the same thing. And even if they aren't, just having someone to support you goes a very, very long way. Don't be afraid to offer to be theirs, too! Buddy Avenue is a two-way street, friend.
A Fountain of Ideas for Dry January
So, a dry month is just around the corner. You don't need to hole yourself up at home on the couch with your warm milk and cookies. Going dry from booze doesn't mean going dry from your social life or even having a life. The point is, you've got this, and you have these ideas to keep your days flowing while the booze doesn't.