What kind of drinker are you?

Lauren Booker | January 2023 | 9 minutes

Find out whether you're a Weekender, Unwinder or Emotional drinker to help your Dry January® go smoothly.

Getting to know why, how and in what pattern you drink can really help you to identify if and when you’re going to struggle during Dry January® so that you can prepare, and breeze through any challenging moments.

Below are three types of drinkers with three different preparation strategies to help you make the most of Dry January®. If you can’t find a style you identify with, there are two more in Try Dry®: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze.

The Weekender

It’s Friday night and the weekend has landed. You don’t make plans for Saturday or Sunday because you know you’ll be out partying ’til the wee hours and recovering well into the afternoon, when you’ll be ready to hit the town again. Not drinking during the week won’t be a problem for you. You can happily go Monday to Thursday without a drink, but you work hard and reward yourself with a lively social life at the weekend.

If this is you: There are two things that might trip you up on your dry journey: 1. You don’t want to miss out on any fun and you’re going to feel deprived if you don’t get your weekly fix of drinking your fill. 2. You think everyone has expectations that involve you knocking back the booze and being the life and soul of the party.

What can you do to prepare? Think about your reasons for doing Dry January®. Do they still hold true? If so, treat your four alcohol-free weekends as an experiment. You’re there to observe what the world in general and going out in particular is like without an alcohol haze. It can be daunting to think of having a good time without a drink. After all, can you even have fun sober? The answer, of course, is yes – but nevertheless, be prepared to temper your social life, just for this month. Going out sober can take a little bit of getting used to – though once you do I bet you’ll have a better time than ever.

The Unwinder

You drink to unwind, to forget the troubles of the day and because, goddammit, you deserve it. A drink in the evening signals the end of the working day/week and you use alcohol to relax. During particularly stressful periods you have a drink (or two) to help you sleep.

If this is you: When things are going well, you won’t think about booze much, but what will you do if there’s a crisis?

What can you do to prepare? You need to explore other ways of relaxing. Experiment with warm baths, playing your favourite tunes, yoga, PlayStation, gardening – the options are infinite. Take a look at the activities suggested in this earlier blog.

Think about the things that make you feel stressed – is it situations? People? Deadlines? Note down these questions: What is making me feel stressed? What can I do about the situation? Who might be able to help? How can I take care of myself right now? Take a look at your list and think of something you could have done in each stressful situation or what you actually did that worked – unless it was a large glass of red! These are your stress-busting alternatives to booze.

The Emotional Drinker

You drink when you’re sad, bored, tired or lonely. If you’re nervous in social situations, a drink will make you more outgoing. If you’ve got an unplanned evening ahead of you, you’ll find something interesting to do once you’ve had a drink. Maybe you’re getting over an emotional break up, bereavement or other loss and alcohol helps you to forget the negative emotions for a while.

If this is you: You’re in a rut and drinking helps you to stay there. You’re going to have to climb out and tackle the touchy-feely stuff that you’ve been avoiding by hiding behind a glass – and that can be hard.

What can you do to prepare? Practise the mindfulness activities from this blog. This will start to get you thinking about your triggers for drinking. Once you’ve identified exactly how you feel when you reach for the glass, you can start to work on strategies for responding differently to that emotion. Look at things that you can do instead of drinking. Rest assured, a month without alcohol should help with both mood and sleep. If you’re really struggling to make changes and your mood is usually low, it might be worth a visit to your GP.

Adapted from Try Dry®: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze

Woman looking at tablet on sofa

Test your knowledge on the different drinker types with this quiz!