Reflections on Dry January and Beyond

by Colleen Hamilton

Success! I’ve accomplished my set goal of an alcohol-free January.

In hindsight, I attribute much of my successful finish to having great resources and tasty substitutes through my go-to online marketplace, Better Rhodes. They helped me feel like I wasn’t missing out by providing full-bodied, flavorful alternatives, and that was immensely helpful.

Now I’m firmly at the “What now? What next?” stage. On the practical side of things, in considering my next shopping run, I’m excited to note that Better Rhodes has lots of interesting options that I haven’t even had the chance to try yet. So that will be fun to explore going into February and beyond. For example, I’m a big fan of a good margarita, so I’m planning to try Sloane's Ultimate Margarita Kit soon.

But ultimately, I want to go deeper into the experience itself. For me, that’s discovering more about those who went before me.

So I visited the Alcohol Change UK website, where Dry January first began in 2013, with 4,000 people participating, compared to 130,000 in 2021. There’s also a blog on their site with some compassionate, non-judgmental suggestions from other participants. Here are a few that spoke to me, and perhaps will you as well.

  • Whether you plan to start drinking again or not, it's worth taking a bit of time to think about why you did Dry January and what you got from it. It's a good opportunity to reflect and plan your relationship with alcohol in the long term.
  • Really figuring out WHY you use alcohol helps. Then looking at WHY you did Dry January. What is it about a sober life that appeals to you? If anything?
  • Set another goal to reach, perhaps 66 days (the time to embed a new habit) and see how you feel. For me, I saw all sorts of health benefits after 100 days.
  • If you’re thinking, even just thinking, about carrying on being alcohol-free, then that’s a clue that your body and mind appreciated being booze-free.
  • During Dry January, you will have had to deal with cravings. Hopefully you’ve managed to work out what triggers them, and how they can be overcome – you've learned a lot! Keep paying attention to these feelings and you’ll find your habits changing.

Through my resources of choice—particularly Better Rhodes, with their commitment to one community, “All Together”—I really appreciate the attitude of taking the Dry January experience further, to include the motives and considerations surrounding it. And I’m determined to move forward in a move positive, healthful direction from where I was in December 2021.