Will You Abandon “Dry January” For a Less Restrictive “Damp January?”
It’s halfway through the first month of 2023 and many eager “dry January” participants have already “sipped” back into old habits and ditched their new year’s resolution.1 That’s why they’re modifying the rules and creating a new movement. Read more to learn about “damp January” and tips to successfully cut back on drinking this year.
What is Damp January?
“Dry January” is an appealing reset for many people in the United States who are coming off of the excesses (including drinking) that go along with the holiday season. Dr. Thomas Britton, CEO of American Addiction Centers, says that there are many reasons why people drink more during the holidays, and not always happy ones. He maintains that “while some people drink to celebrate, others drink because it helps them feel less depressed, less alone, or less bored.2”
This can cause many people to add dry January to their list of New Year’s resolutions. However, such a drastic switch from drinking more than usual during the holidays to drinking nothing at all cold turkey can be an unexpectedly difficult challenge. In fact, the mindful drinking app Sunnyside found that in January 2022, 35% of people participating in dry January had a drink within the first week of the challenge.1
Even a small slip-up can cause people to give up and quit. A solution to the all-or-nothing mentality of dry January that has been circulating Instagram and TikTok is “damp January.”
Damp January is cutting down on alcohol consumption instead of completely removing all alcohol from your diet (like with Dry January).3 Participants of damp January can still enjoy some alcohol here and there while reducing their alcohol consumption overall throughout the month.
Who Can Benefit from Damp January?
All-or-nothing goals do not work for everyone. In fact, “gradual behavior changes can often lead to greater long-term success” when changing a food or drink habit.
Similar to dry January, damp January gives participants the opportunity to reflect on their relationship with alcohol. If you think that you or a loved one may have a problematic or unhealthy relationship with alcohol, it could be an indicator of a more serious problem. 3
Tips to Stick to Drinking Less
To have a successful damp January month, there are some tips and tricks you can follow. These include3:
- Use the CDC drinking recommendations for moderate drinking as a guideline (one drink or less a day for women and two drinks or less a day for men).
- Opt for lower-alcohol drinks (e.g. swap hard liquor for beer).
- Have nonalcoholic alternatives at home for when the cravings hit.
- Plan three to four alcohol-free days a week.
- Limit your drink intake when you go out to a pre-determined set amount (like one drink).
- Only have drinks on the weekends.
- Offer to be the designated driver (DD) when going out with friends and family.
Offering to be the DD for your friends and family can be a great way to hold yourself accountable to drink less and keep those that matter most to you safe. Unfortunately, drunk driving is still a very prominent issue in the United States.
In Huntington Beach alone, there were over 650 DUI arrests and more than 70 DUI-related accidents in 2022. 4
Benefits of Cutting Down on Alcohol
There are many physical and psychological benefits to cutting down on alcohol consumption. Benefits include5:
- More physical and mental energy.
- Weight loss.
- Reduced risk of cancer.
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Healthier liver.
- Saving money.
Another huge benefit of cutting down on alcohol is the opportunity to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
If participating in dry or damp January proves more difficult than you think, it might be an indicator of a larger and more serious issue. Thankfully, there are programs that treat alcohol addiction.
Laguna Treatment Hospital is an inpatient rehab and detox in Orange County, CA that offers treatment for alcohol and drug addiction. Each patient has a unique comprehensive treatment plan specifically created for their individual needs.
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