How was your Dry January?
Maybe you’re patting yourself on the back for keeping things alcohol free all month, but you’re not sure what your next steps should be?
Perhaps you’re counting down to drinking again on February 1st?
Or maybe you’re frustrated because you didn’t make it? And now you’re struggling to get back on track?
No matter what happened this month, the most important thing is how you move forward. And that’s exactly what today’s blog is all about.
If you had a great Dry January, but don’t know what to do next
It’s great that you had a good experience this month, but it’s also totally normal that you’re not ready to announce to the world, “That’s it, I’m done! I’m never drinking again.” Telling yourself you’re now going to quit forever is actually pretty pointless anyway – because it’s so overwhelming, your brain can’t visualise it.
If you wish to continue with sobriety, I recommend setting another short-term goal that you can work towards. 100 days is a great next step – a lot of good things start happening around that point! The hard, tough days of early sobriety (when everything is new and different) are behind you and you start to discover what alcohol-free living is really all about.
If you made it through Dry January, but can’t wait to drink on February 1st
Remember that there’s nothing you “should” or “have to” do here – there’s no wrong or right. But before you jump back into bed with booze, I recommend getting clear on what it is you believe you’re missing out on. Why are you so desperate to go back to drinking? There’s clearly something you believe you get from it, so what is it?
Then imagine that you’ve got to argue the other side of the story for a while. What else is also true? If you were defending this line of thinking in court, what would you say? Your brain is so lazy. It’s wired to look for evidence that supports the beliefs you already have. So why not take your brain out of autopilot and challenge some of that stuff?
If you crashed out of Dry January and feel bad
If you’re beating yourself up because things did not go to plan, I want you to know that the same thing happened to me in 2013. I did Dry January for a week before giving up! But do you know what happened later that year? I quit for good. So remember – all is not lost and you can turn things around.
If you’re ready to try again, great. Make sure you get some support though, because addiction thrives in isolation. Go get yourself on the waitlist for my next Getting Unstuck course, so we can work together, get a plan in place, give you a focused community and a space to get coached whenever you need it.
If you’re not ready to try again just yet, that’s fine. But please do this one thing: start keeping a diary. By writing down how you’re feeling, you’re gathering important data about how alcohol genuinely affects you. That’s going to be very useful information to have when you’re ready to take action again.
Looking to create a sober life you love? Click here to find out more about my Getting Unstuck course.
I had actually planned on remaining dry until St. Patrick’s day – and then when I do that (NOT if, but when) – I will set another milestone – like June 15th, my Mom’s birthday, then August 15th, my birthday, etc.
I CAN do it!!!!
I love the positivity – you CAN do it! 🙂
I crashed yesterday- now I’ve got such a bad hangover- regretting drinking so much!☹️
I had given up smoking aswell but had 4 whilst over drinking!☹️☹️☹️☹️
It’s not easy doing the hard things in life alone Hazel, have a look at my online course where connection and community support are key to long term success: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Hi Kate, I’m happy to say that I’ve stuck with dry January successfully and I’m looking forward to dry February then sober spring and so on. The money I’ve saved not buying alcohol is going towards my new vehicle payments.
My health has definitely improved and my clients started noticing changes in my complexion by third week even though I never mentioned dry January.
I’ll definitely keep reading and watching your Instagram posts as they are encouraging and informative..
Congratulations Rose, the benefits are showing and will only keep on coming. Sobriety is the gift that keeps on giving!
I hope to start your Unstuck course in April. I feel pretty confident at the moment, but some support would be nice. I’m planning on a 50 day goal to start. If I think too far ahead, I seem to sabotage myself. Thank you for creating this forum!
Small goals are a good idea Chrissy, thinking about forever is just too overwhelming as our brains cannot visualise it. If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than some of my previous students who’ve taken the Getting Unstuck course: https://thesoberschool.com/success-stories/
Haven’t drunk any alcohol since September and training for full London marathon ! Thank you for keeping me in mailing list ! At the moment don’t miss it at all ! Too focused on training
After April … hope for next goal
Did dry January. Made it! A little over 8 months now.
Purchased your book. Great strategies for living life AF. Always have my handy tool box ready for action.
Taking one month at a time
Thanks for sending your latest video.
I did 3 weeks and found it surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. Birthday this month, all alone so I succumbed to a bottle of wine, but the good news is, that I didn’t finish the bottle in one session like normal, it took 3 days. I am now going to try February without alcohol
Will keep you updated!
You can do this!
Loneliness can be a common trigger for many, so have a listen to a blog I wrote on this topic: https://thesoberschool.com/i-drink-every-evening-because-i-feel-lonely/ If you’d like some support, I’d be honoured to help you stop having any more Day 1’s.
Thanks Kate, just looked at the above blog which has helped me to think, and I have signed up to a gym which is free twice a week for six months. This is to help people with joint problems so there are people of my age, hopefully new friends and help with my joints and overweight body.
You are so knowledgeable, I’m going to look at your other blog about being bored.
I had a different mind set this time doing dry January thanks to listening to your vlogs. I admit it has been very tough on occasion, especially Friday nights – however, having a stash of different soft drinks in the fridge has helped. What isn’t helping is when friends are asking me when will I be back on it so we can have a night out. I still think about alcohol more than I want to on an evening, but every morning I wake up thankful that I didn’t have a drink the night before. I have been more productive workwise, calmer with the kids, had more energy and slept better – these are the things I keep reminding myself of whenever I still feel the desire to drink!
Just tell your friends that you can be just as crazy on a Shirley Temple!!!
Friends are often well meaning because perhaps they only know a version of you that drinks, but this isn’t helpful when you are exploring an alcohol-free lifestyle. You can still have a night out with friends though, it shouldn’t matter what liquid is in your glass because the purpose of the occasion is to socialise with friends. It’s useful to flip the script on this because we often give alcohol the credit for a ‘good night’ when really it’s about the company…
There have been times this month when I’ve felt that it would be “wonderful” to have a glass or two of my favourite Sauvignon blanc ……but then I remembered that the last drink I had wasn’t THAT wonderful and didn’t it taste pretty foul?
I want to travel – on this journey until the end of March (that’ll be three months and I think that that period of time is significant) and then I’m going to set a new time scale as Kate suggests.
It’s true that pouring alcohol down my throat is an abuse to my body in the same way that someone who chews and swallows too much food abuses their body too.
You’re doing great Ann and setting do-able goals is the sure way to long term success 🙂
Dotty Hi Kate, as Debbie I too haven’t drunk since Aug 14th (24 weeks)! It has gone far better than i could have hoped which is why I made an initial contact. As i said back in Aug/Sept when i reached out, i had a very personal reason for giving up, my sister died from end stage liver failure. I have however read all your post and several very good books and often log onto websites which are very supportive. Thank you for all your advice, insight and tips.
Thank you so much, Kate. Your website has helped me tremendously- I am not even totally sure how I came upon it but it was like sort of a miracle that I did! I was successful with not drinking this January. I feel like I cheated a bit since I got sick the day after Christmas with a flu of sorts which spilled over into the first couple of days in January. I did, however, intend to do Dry January but illness probably helped me through the tough first week. Your videos and testimonials spoke to me loudly and clearly and told my story which felt validating, so thank you for those. I have started journaling and will take your advice on setting the 100 days goal- I needed a next step and you provided this for me. You are my inspiration. Can’t express how grateful I am for you and for the work you do to help thousands of women. I am sharing your resources with others- when appropriate. Thank you again and again!
I’m delighted to have made it 30 days with no wine. And incredibly want to keep going. It hasn’t been easy but going to go for the 100 days commitment. Good luck to all the other women out there too.
Thank you Kate.
My goal was never January – it was February as well. So far, so good. I miss the signal to myself that the working day is over and the relaxation bit has begun, which is what my 5 o clock glass of wine really did. I’m trying to replace it with other signals, but the truth is I don’t actually want the wine itself any more… Very odd after so many years of believing it was the taste I enjoyed.
Going into my fifth week so another 10 weeks before I reach the 100 day goal. The first three weeks were really hard with a lot of withdrawal symptoms. They are getting easier and my mental and physical health is really improving. I feel at peace with myself and looking forward to warmer days. I do ‘mindfulness’ moments to take stock of my feelings about ditching the alcohol. I have been such a silly fool. So many days wasted and at 65 this July, I haven’t enough time left to waste feeling awful with hangovers. Never drunk so much water in my life!
I did it Kate! and I’ve never felt better. Let’s keep it going for Feel Good February
I was particularly struck by your blog this week Kate (and I watch every week as they keep me focussed), having read Jill Stark’s recent experience https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-01-27/jill-stark-drinking-sobriety-alcohol-culture/101882302, about returning to drinking after she had given up and written her book High Sobriety. She has done what many of us have, tried alcohol free living, then returned to drinking, but completely in the public space. It is worth a read. For myself and a life of years and years of daily drinking, following an experiment of dry June 2022, I just made it through but wouldn’t have continued without the support of the Getting Unstuck course that I took in July 2022. I am very happy to say that it worked for me, and continues to work – and if I can do it, I am not particularly strong or special in any way and have the usual problems we all have, then you can! Keep going xx
I managed dry January and plan to keep on going.
That’s fantastic Sara, good for you. The mental and physical benefits continue so keep going!
Dear Kate, 30 days in and the best bit is my sleep no more waking at 4am, I have started exercising baby steps but 8kg lost. Its the first time I have attempted to lose weight without factoring in wine calories (crazy I know). Taking each day at a time but enjoying waking up hangover free. Drinking My own body weight in diet tango in the evening but only after water all day. Next goal February. Thank you for giving me the guidance so refreshing to read so many other ladies in the same boat and that you are not alone.
You are definitely not alone, but it can often feel like we are the only ones that cannot control a mind altering, addictive drug – crazy right? Well done on the weight loss too and the sugar cravings will ease in time, trust me 🙂
I can’t believe that I feel so great and haven’t had a drop of alcohol since I started the program. I actually tried to get my money back because I didn’t think I could do this. I’m so glad I did. I have had ups and downs but the ups have been better than the downs. Finally sleeping all night and when I get up in the morning I feel GREAT. So thank you Kate. I will go for another 6 weeks once this ends. Baby steps work best for me. I hope to have a future of alcohol free living!
This sober thing is amazing.
Sober since July 2022 and feel so good. The wonderful thing and big surprise is that I feel better and better all the time. A lovely side effect is improved looks – and I mean REALLY improved- glowing skin, bright eyes and a shrinking waist. Unbelievable.
Certainly glad I was in Kate’s course for Dry January, and I’m looking forward to the next few. It’s getting better all the time.
Hi Kate, I sadly gave up on Dry January, and my Husband did too ( he’s doing the journey with me and wants to give up alcohol, so we’re trying to support each other)
It’s now January 31st and we are both determined this time that we are going alcohol free in February. When I read all the comments from people on your forums, I find it really inspiring and think to myself “ they can do it, so so can I !”
We managed 12 days alcohol free into January, and in those 12 days, felt great. I particularly felt inspired when I read that you failed in 2013 then eventually quit that year. I really really want to do it this time. I worry for our health as you obviously don’t see the damage alcohol is doing until it’s sometimes too late!
I’m 52 and my Husband is 53 next month, so we definitely want to keep reading your encouraging stuff. Thank you Kate, you’re fab
I’m so pleased to hear you are encouraged by my blogs. I’m passionate about helping women break free from the alcohol trap, because there is a better way to live and keep living life to the full for longer. If you need any extra support, I’d be honoured to coach you on my April Getting Unstuck course, details here: https://thesoberschool.com/course/
Hi Sally. I just read your post and thought I’d send you and your husband, a shout out of encouragement. You know that old saying? ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!’ It’s true. I took Kate’s Unstuck Course in 2019 which unfortunately like your Dry January, didn’t stick. In the fall of 2022, I took Kate’s inaugural Transform course which was more intense requiring daily work and support. 5 months AF thus far for me. If I can do it, you and your hubby can do it! Good luck and keep trying!
Thanks for your encouragement Jane. Yes we are more determined now to start again. Here’s to a happier, hangover free life! x
I did your course 4 years ago February 22nd and Iam still ‘dry’!!!!! So if January didn’t go so well…. There’s always February!!!!!!!!
Congratulations Carmi, sobriety suits you well ❤️
As last year, I’ve done dry January. Usually manage until my birthday mid February. You are so right about thinking you are drinking mindfully then it gradually reverting to old habits. I’m the yoyo. My problem is that I like alcohol but there is a nagging in me that wants to not like it.
Sheena, it would be good to understand what thoughts are driving you back to drinking when you consciously want to stop? I’ve written many blogs about the possible reasons we drink and myths about alcohol that we’ve come to believe, so here’s one you might find helpful about feeling deprived when contemplating sobriety: https://thesoberschool.com/sobriety-makes-me-feel-deprived/
Hi Kate, my husband and I both tried dry January. We had a couple of false starts—fry one or two days then drinking again. But today marks 11 days alcohol free. We are continuing through February and till the second week of March when we will attend my nephews wedding.who knows? Maybe we won’t even drink at the wedding. Feeling much better, sleeping well, but the scale has not budged. Oh well, I’ll take it for now. Excited to see what tomorrow brings.
A sober wedding sounds fabulous! What better day to be completely present and share the joyous occasion with family and friends and cherish all the wonderful memories. Take the benefits of good sleep and feeling better, the weight loss will follow in good time.
I feel so great after January that my new goal is 100 days! And hopefully forever after that. Thank you!
I managed dry January quite well and am now looking towards the 3rd march as that’s my husbands 60th birthday and he and our friends will want to celebrate and not sure if I can manage to not join them in a glass of bubbles or so.
My husband started with me but crashed and burned on the 16th jan. he is now back to drinking as he was and it is strange to watch him justifying and rationalising how he has it under control. But it is difficult to not get cross and argue with him which has caused me a lot of stress. Not sure how I get through that as I don’t want want to argue with him every time he binges (which he has started doing again at least 3 days a week)
Congratulations Sandra and well done on setting another goal. You may feel very differently about your alcohol-free lifestyle by the 3rd March and want to continue. Celebrations aren’t about the alcohol, they are about the occasion and the company so how about trying out some of the wide range of AF sparkling wines to join in with the bubbles- Nosecco is a favourite of mine or have some fun experimenting this month and stock up for the party. You can only control your choices and perhaps your husband will follow your sober example in time. Here’s a blog I wrote on this topic that you might find helpful: https://thesoberschool.com/i-want-to-quit-but-my-partner-still-drinks/
I am 19 weeks sober. With only one very bad downfall day last year, which proved to me I cannot have alcohol. Plus 2 odd days where I’ve tried a shot of port or wine & hated it. I’m losing my desire for it. Also I’m losing my sweet tooth at last, whereas the first few weeks I piled on a stone I’m starting to lose weight now. So happy. Sometimes struggle when socializing.
I’m celebrating! I failed Dry January……..last year! My last sip of poison was on 31st Jan 2022 So I’ve been Alcohol-free for a whole year! My husband was so proud of me he’s bought me a bunch of flowers and a box of Chocolates. I’ve nailed it! Thank you so much Kate for upgrading my life.
Congratulations Sue on your whole year of sobriety – that’s brilliant! And how sweet of your husband to mark the occasion too ❤️
Hi Kate – I set out on my current sober journey on 02/01/23 and, based on the advice in your master class videos (thank you btw!), I had a good think about where I wanted to be and set myself a 365 day ‘target’, but with the aim of this being a forever choice. I’ve done 28/90 day stints before but always with that ‘until’ milestone in mind. I’m totally in the right mind set this time and in it for the long haul, new me, new lifestyle.
I’m (re)educating myself with ‘quit lit’ (Bloggs like yours, The Sober Diaries, The Naked Mind etc), I’m learning how to meditate and loving it (The Balance App) and, now over the early lethargy, I’m gradually introducing more exercise and healthy eating, in order to properly reap the health rewards. I saw this today, which I really enjoyed:-
But what will I do at the weekend?
You will sleep, and you will rest, and you will spend quality time with those you love without feeling like a bag of shit and wishing you were on another planet.
But what will I do at parties?
You will slowly realise that the best time at a party is the first hour. After that, no one remembers anything, no one makes any sense and no one cares.
But what will I do on holiday?
You will realise there is more to a holiday than gagging over the breakfast table, gripping onto your sun lounger for dear life, praying it would stop swaying, spending all day and night in a alcoholic fog, and making a twat out of yourself at the disco.
But what will I do at a wedding?
You will enjoy the wedding for what it is .. a celebration of love. You will remember everything, eat all the food, drink all the water, and go home looking just as hot as when you arrived .. and not make a twat out of yourself at the disco.
But what will I do when I’m bored?
You will find hobbies and you will exercise and you will cook and you will connect. You realise that alcohol created boredom and was never a cure. You will learn that this world is far too beautiful to be bored in, and that time is too precious to be wasted necking poison in the name of fun.
But what will I do to escape?
Without alcohol, you will create a world you don’t need to run from. You will cleanse your life, declutter those areas holding you back and be free, unshackled from a substance keeping you numb.
Thank you for sharing this Julie, these are exactly the questions I get asked on a daily basis and the answers are what I teach in my Getting Unstuck course. Well done on committing to be alcohol-free in 2023!
Thankyou Kate. I will read your blog on my partner still drinks.