I think I might struggle...

Lauren Booker | December 2021 | 7 minutes

I think I might struggle taking a month off for Dry January® – what can I do?

Dry January® is a great way for many people to reset their relationship with alcohol - but if you’re aware that you’re drinking too much, you might be worried about taking it on. You might also be nervous about committing to a month off drinking after all the uncertainty, stress and anxiety of the past year.

If you are drinking very heavily, you need to work out if this is the right way for you to take control over your drinking. There are lots of options for support available; the important thing is to find the help that’s right for you now so that you can take control over your relationship with alcohol and improve your health. 

Here are some steps to go through to work out if Dry January® is for you and, if you decide to take it on, get some additional support to make the month easier.

1. Check your drinking

If you are drinking heavily and regularly, you should check with local alcohol service before taking on the month. You can use our drinking quiz to give you a steer on this; if your AUDIT score is  20 or more, it’s worth checking with one of the above before starting the month.

If you have physical symptoms when you stop drinking (which may include but are not limited to: shakes, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, stomach cramps or hallucinations) you should seek medical help urgently.

2. Keep a drinking diary

Keeping a drinking diary will help you shed some light on your drinking habits and, hopefully, make taking a month off drinking easier. It will become easier for you to identify where you might slip up and prepare for the eventuality of it happening. Having a record of your alcohol consumption over one or a few weeks can help you assess whether you’ll need further support – if you’re drinking a lot more than you realised you might want to speak to your GP, or find out about other support options here. You can keep a physical diary, or download Try Dry®: the Dry January® app to track your drinking at any time in the year.

3. Join the Facebook group

Think you’ll need some more support with Dry January®? You can take a look at our Facebook community. There are loads of like-minded people going through the same thing as you, and they will be there to encourage you and give you advice if you’re struggling.

4. Talk to your friends and family

Even if they’re not taking part in Dry January®, talking to family and friends can help. It might be that you’re feeling uncomfortable refusing drinks in social situations and could do with a friend to back you up or check in with you, or that you’ve realised your relationship with alcohol might be more difficult than you initially thought. Find someone to talk to, in person or on the phone, who will be there for you and who can support you if and when you need them.

5. Talk to your GP

If you're worried about your drinking, or even just curious, book an appointment with your GP and have a chat with them. They can offer confidential advice and support to make some lasting changes, and help you feel in tip-top condition again.

6. Seek support

If you are struggling with alcohol, you need and deserve support. Many alcohol services are now able to offer support online.

Find out about the support available to you here.

No matter how big or small you consider your alcohol problem to be, it is always better to reach out for support rather than suffer in silence. Get the help you need today, and address your relationship with alcohol.

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