Dry January and your relationship

Lauren Booker | December 2018 | 7 minutes

Dry January is your challenge – but your nearest and dearest will likely be affected by and affect your dry journey. Whether you’re taking on the challenge alone or as a pair this blog, adapted from Try Dry: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze, has some top tips for helping you both have a brilliant month.

If you’re in a long-term relationship, or even a new one that you hope will go the distance, you might want to ask your partner if they will join you on your dry sojourn. Not only is it easier to reach your goal for the whole month if you’ve got a buddy joining in, but you can enjoy the challenge together too.

You won’t always find that your partner is as keen for you to go dry as you hope. It might feel quite threatening for them to consider the implications for their own drinking, or they may feel inconvenienced by this change to routine.

A good way to start persuading them to try dry with you is to work out what your reason is for wanting them to join in the challenge. Is it because you’d like the support? Because you reckon it will be more enjoyable if you do it together, or that you would like to spend more time together sober? Or maybe it’s because you’re concerned about their drinking? If it’s that last one, it’s worth putting the brakes on. Only they can decide when they want to cut down. If you talk openly and honestly about your concerns, they may decide to give it a go. They may not, and that’s OK too. This is YOUR challenge, you should be doing it for you. Their challenge will be something they do for them, if and when the time comes.

If your partner does agree to go dry you need to let them take responsibility for that decision. If you’re getting stuck in and your partner is just leaving it all to you, maybe that’s because they didn’t want to join you but they don’t want to upset you, especially if they agree that it’s a good idea in principle, they just don’t want to do it. If this is the case, you’re going to have to go it alone, with their support, hopefully. Watching you succeed, seeing how much brighter and happier you are after a month off the sauce, is much more likely to give them the motivation they need to give dry a try.

What if you’re going it alone? This isn’t a reason not to go ahead, you just need to plan around it. Here are a few tips to get you started.

It’s a good idea to give your partner plenty of notice. Just randomly pouring all their favourite wine down the sink one day and declaring your home a dry environment can lead to domestic unrest to say the least. Let them know your reasons and your start and initial end dates, then ask for their support. If you’re going to find it difficult to go to the pub/party/wine tasting with them, they’ll need a week or two to make other plans. If you need them to not offer you a drink or even not to drink around you, you’ll need to discuss this with them in advance. Be kind: this is your choice, but it’s not necessarily theirs.

If not dry, are they prepared to be drier? You might be able to negotiate some new drinking guidelines for the month. E.g. no booze in the house but it’s fine when out with friends.

Let them know your high-risk trigger situations. If you know what might set off a craving it’s great to know that you can make the ‘get me out of here’ face and rely on their support to drop everything and distract you until you feel more in control.

Ask what’s different. Sometimes it’s our loved ones who notice the benefits of us not drinking for a while. If you’re expecting a noticeable weight loss or the energy of a Labrador puppy and you’re not getting the result you’d hoped for, those who know you best will be able to point to more subtle changes and that will give your motivation a boost.

Have you downloaded our app yet? You can use it year-round to track your drinking, savings and more! Find out more and download it here. You can also buy our book, Try Dry: the Official Guide to a Month Off Booze, here. It's full of handy tips and advice for giving dry a go - whether that's January or any other month!

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