Try Dry® App: User Guide

So, you’ve downloaded Try Dry®: the Dry January app®. Brilliant!

Here's your guide to making the most of the app. It's your free support system that's proven to double your chance of staying alcohol-free month. If you haven’t got the app yet, don’t wait. It’s your free support system that’s proven to double your chances of having a month totally alcohol-free.

Download Try Dry®: the Dry January® app for Apple or Android.

Five steps to get the most out of the app and Dry January®

  1. Use the latest version.
  2. Turn notifications on. This helps encourage you to keep logging your days, even if you didn’t stay dry.
  3. Get Dry January® straight to your inbox by subscribing to daily coaching emails offering everything from tips and tricks, to personal stories and quizzes.
  4. Join the Dry January® Community Facebook group. It’s a chance to get support and tips from others.
  5. Follow us on social media @DryJanuary on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for daily support to keep you motivated.

If the app isn’t working as you expected, please visit our help centre.

Below are tips for a successful Dry January® using our Try Dry® app.

Common questions

Whether you’re taking on Dry January® or cutting down longer-term the app is your year-round support system that allows you to:

  • Track your units, calories and money saved
  • Set goals that suit you. Whether you want to complete Dry January®, stay dry every day except Saturday or cut your drinking in half – you can!
  • Monitor your mood, energy, sleep and cravings
  • A confidential notes section for daily reflections
  • 57 badges available to achieve with in-app celebrations every time
  • Exclusive free coaching emails (if you want them)
  • Progress charts offering a weekly report of your drinking and unit, calorie and money savings
  • Daily motivation. Receive a reminder every day, at a time that suits you.
  • Use the drinking risk quiz to check up on your drinking
  • Led by science, developed for you. Our app combines behavioural science with a highly responsive approach to feedback from users.
  • Totally free. No hidden costs, no annoying ads.

Yes! The Try Dry® app can support you to keep track of your drinking all year round and thousands of users keep going with many taking on our 90-day challenge ‘Sober Spring’.

You don’t have to stay dry to keep using the app.

With our new custom goal function, you can set personalised goals. Want to set a goal to drink nine units a week and specify which days of the week you drink? You can! Want to stay dry every day but Saturday? You can! Our new custom goals function is here letting you set the goals that suit you.

Want to monitor your daily unit intake? Switch to Units view in the calendar section.

You don’t need to set a goal either, you can keep going with the app to keep a log of your drinking and if you’re reducing your drinking you’ll still get new badges.

Tip: retake the in-app Drinking Risk Quiz regularly to see how your recent drinking compares with previous months.

Try Dry® is the only app brought to you by us, the official charity behind Dry January®, Alcohol Change UK.

Our app combines behavioural science with a highly responsive approach to feedback from users. We’ve been working on the app for years, and as experts in reducing alcohol harm, we know what we’re doing!

There are no annoying adverts, it’s totally free and it’s proven to double your chances of having a month totally alcohol-free.

Your baseline drinking is the estimate of your average weekly drinking before using the app. If you haven't yet set your baseline drinking, then savings will not yet be shown on your dashboard. We recommend setting your baseline drinking to get the most out of the app.

You can only have one goal set at a time. This draws from consistent findings from behavioural science that having a single goal is far more effective than having multiple goals, because it gives you focus.

You can edit your current goal at any time, changing it to something else.

Of course, you can achieve multiple goals over time. Once you’ve achieved a goal, it will appear in your 'achieved goals' list and you can then set a new goal.

Simply, a badge is something awarded to you by the app, without you having to do anything other than achieve its criteria; whereas a goal is something you deliberately choose to set for yourself.

Many of the badges that you can be awarded are also selectable as a goal. The custom goals function allows you to create a goal that is unique to you.

Try Dry® is the only app brought to you by the official charity of Dry January®, Alcohol Change UK. Our app combines behavioural science with a highly responsive approach to feedback from users.

Download Try Dry®: the Dry January® app for Apple or Android.

There are lots of apps with similar names, but only Try Dry® is proven to double your chances of success.

The app for Dry January® 2018 and before was named “Dry January & Beyond”. This app was provided by Cyberliver/Zanec. They have now replaced this app with “Dry Days by AlcoChange”. This is not associated with Dry January® or Alcohol Change UK.

Enter your drinking data

You cannot add a future calendar date but for those people that want to stay dry on a particular day or drink a certain amount at a future event should use the custom goal function.

Click on add or change goal on the dashboard. Select Custom Goal > Limit the units I drink. Toggle on "Choose Specific Days". Select the day that you want to be dry and/or add the unit limit for the particular day.

The calendar is designed to only show the current month and you can only enter data up until the current date. The calendar month for the upcoming month will display at 00:00am on the first day of the next month.

On the dashboard, a ‘week’ is defined as the period from (and including) the most recent Monday. So if today is a Friday and you select the ‘week’ tab at the top of the dashboard, the dashboard will show your total dry days in the circle, and your total savings of units, money and calories, for the five days Monday to Friday inclusive. If you’ve not yet entered Friday’s data, there will be data for Monday to Thursday only.

On the calendar, weeks are presented as starting on Monday in the visual display.

In the charts function, you can choose whether ‘week’ is defined as the last seven days, or this week/last week from Monday.

For those badges and pre-set goals that reward you for weekly achievements, such as the Reducer badge and the UK Moderator badge, a week is again defined as starting on a Monday. This means that if you start successfully moderating on a Tuesday, you would go 13 days successfully moderating before getting your ‘1 week UK Moderator’ badge, because it wouldn’t start counting until the Monday, which is the sixth day. This keeps the app simpler and easier to use.

The custom goals function lets you set the exact start date and end date of any goal, so if you want to count your moderation from today, when today is not a Monday, then use that function instead.

In the UK, a is a standard measure of alcohol, specifically 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol. The big advantage of the unit is that is allows clear comparison between drinks of different types. It allows you to keep a track on the actual alcohol you are drinking, which is much more accurate and important than the number of 'drinks', which is a very vague concept.

For more information, read our guide to units in common drinks.

A few other countries also use units, but many others use 'standard drinks'. Check out the international section below.

‘Drink as planned’ is a really important element in the Try Dry® app. It allows you to keep a record of where you had a planned drink, and this is marked in grey rather than black on the calendar. This recognises that total sobriety is not for everyone and that planned, controlled drinking is a very positive outcome for many people.

People sometimes ask whether ‘drink as planned’ means:

  • I planned to have a drink that day (even if I drank more than I intended), or
  • I drank only what I planned to drink that day.

At Alcohol Change UK, we think it’s vital that the app is yours and works for you, so it’s your choice which of those two definitions of 'drank as planned' you want to use. However, our professional advice is that the second definition (I drank what I planned to drink) is the better of the two options, as it holds you more accountable and emphasises being in control of your drinking, which is what the Try Dry® app is about.

When it comes to badges and goals, ‘dry streaks’ and ‘dry days’ do of course treat ‘drank as planned’ as drinking days.

My savings and progress

Your financial savings are based on two figures, both of which you can edit:

  • Your baseline drinking setting
  • The cost of the drinks you have drunk

If you want your financial savings to be accurate, you should edit both of these, as explained below.

Changing baseline drinking setting

When entering your baseline drinking setting, the app will estimate your weekly expenditure on alcoholic drinks based on what you drink, using average UK prices. But of course prices vary considerably, especially from venue to venue, brand to brand, and country to country. So you can edit the baseline drinking cost by tapping on the pencil icon in the black circle next to ‘Cost’ and insert your own figure.

Changing the cost of the drinks you have drunk

When entering a drink on the ‘Add drink’ screen, there are two ways to change the price of the drink:

  • You can click ‘shop bought’ or ‘bar/pub/restaurant’ at the top of the screen, which will give you a rough estimate of the price based on where you bought it, again using UK average prices.
  • If you want something more accurate, you can enter the exact price per drink by scrolling down the screen and tapping on the price displayed in the 'Cost per drink' section. A pop up will show on the screen allowing you to edit the amount. Click on 'Save' to update the amount.

The dashboard shows totals for your dry days and for your savings of units, calories and money for four different time periods. By default it is set to ‘total’, which shows your total achievements since setting up the account. However, there are three other tabs you can select, below the circular ‘dry days’ counter:

• ‘Week’ – shows your totals for the week to date, from (and including) the most recent Monday

• ‘Month’ – shows your totals for the calendar month to date, from (and including) 1st of the current month to today

• ‘Year’ – shows your totals for the calendar year to date, from (and including) 1 Jan of the current year to today

Secondly, the calendar item at the bottom of the screen allows you to view your calendar for this month and any previous month, which shows how you are doing, in terms of which days you drank, had a planned drink, or stayed dry in a simple visual way. The calendar can also convert your dry/planned/drank days into Units consumed each day in a calendar view. Each month will also display the total units consumed for the month next to the month name.

The progress item at the bottom of the screen takes you to the powerful charts function. This will allow you to select any date range (tap EDIT next to the pencil icon) and, from the top of the screen, show units or calories consumed or money spent, as well as your totals and average for that period.

The charts function shows what you have consumed/spent, whereas the dashboard shows what you have saved. The charts function shows you how much you have drunk on a particular day, week, month. You can also customise a specific time period if you wish.

In contrast the calendar will only show you daily and monthly unit totals at a glance.

The savings at the top of the dashboard – for units, money and calories – are calculated by comparing your total for each week with the weekly ‘baseline drinking’ that you have set for yourself.

Your ‘baseline drinking’ is your estimate of your average weekly drinking before using the app. If you have not yet set your ‘baseline drinking’, then savings will not yet be shown. Set your ‘baseline drinking’ to get the most from the app.

The savings can be shown for four different time periods:

  • ‘Total’ – shows your savings since creating your account
  • ‘Week’ – shows your savings for the week to date, from (and including) the most recent Monday
  • ‘Month’ – shows your savings for the calendar month to date, from (and including) first day of the current month to today
  • ‘Year’ – shows your savings for the calendar year to date, from (and including) 1 January of the current year to today.

The savings totals for month, year and total are cumulative, so adding up every week for the period in question.

Wellbeing features

You can now rate your sleep, energy levels, mood and craving intensity in Try Dry®. This is referred to as wellbeing within the app. While of course this is optional, we know that many people benefit from monitoring these areas alongside their drinking. Adding your wellbeing data is easy, just add your daily drinking data as normal and tap on the wellbeing options that slide up from the bottom of your screen. Choose your response for each one and in four clicks you have recorded your sleep, mood, energy and cravings scores for the day. Go to your Calendar and switch to the 'Wellbeing' toggle at the top of the screen. Use the left and right arrows to see the month's view of 'Your mood', 'Your energy', 'Your sleep', and 'Your cravings' data. You can also add wellbeing data to a specific day by tapping on the '+' sign on a specific day in this wellbeing calendar view.

Use the 'Notes' section to record your daily thoughts, feelings, reflections, events or learning. This feature is particularly helpful if you like journalling or if you’re looking to understand your drinking and/or document your journey of change. There is a fourth calendar showing which days contain a notes entry and, of course, you can view and edit previous entries. To add a note, add your daily drinking data as normal and tap on the 'write' button that slides up from the bottom of your screen. Go to your Calendar and switch to the 'Notes' toggle at the top of the screen to see the month's view of your notes. You can also add notes to other days by tapping on the '+' sign on a specific day in this notes calendar view.

We know that your privacy matters to you and we’ve taken that very seriously. This feature comes with the added security that the data entered is confidential to you and stored fully encrypted for your benefit only. Treat it as a secret diary, available at your fingertips.

Languages and international app use

The app has been translated into French, German, Norwegian and Welsh thanks to Fédération Addiction, Blaues Kreuz Schweiz, IOGT Norway and Alcohol Change UK.

The language of the app is set by default to match the language used on your device. However, it can be changed manually in Settings > Edit account details.

For users in France, Germany and Switzerland, changing the country settings of your app will also give you access to localised content in the ‘More’ menu, including specific information and extra support. Users in these countries also have the chance to learn more about Alcohol Change UK’s international partners, who not only provide essential alcohol dependency and substance addiction support in their countries but also bring Try Dry® and Dry January® to these countries too.

Alcohol Change UK is open to approaches from agencies wishing to translate the app into their own language.

The Moderator badge, which can also be chosen as a goal, is referred to in the app as the ‘UK Moderator’ badge/goal because it is based on the UK guidance for low-risk drinking, which is 14 UK units per week for both men and women.

Currently, different countries give different guidance about what they define as ‘low-risk drinking’.

  • In the UK, it is defined as a maximum of 14 UK units a week for both men and women. In the UK, a unit is a standard measure of alcohol, specifically 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol.
  • In France, it is defined as a maximum of 2 verres standard a day and 10 verres standard a week for both men and women. In France a standard drink contains 10g of alcohol.
  • In Switzerland, it is defined as 2 verres standard or Gläser a day for men and 1 for women, with no weekly guidance. In Switzerland a standard drink is 12g of alcohol.
  • In Germany, it is defined as no more than 2 standard drinks or 'standardglas' per day for men, and no more than 1 per day for women. In Germany a standard drink is 10-12g of alcohol.

Moderator Badges for our partner countries will be developed and released in early 2023.

If you want to set a goal to moderate (drinking within low-risk limits) for your own country, use the custom goal function.

  • In France, go to Progress > Goals > Custom Goal > Limit the units I drink > and decide whether you’d like to set a daily limit of 2 units or a weekly limit of 10 units.
  • In Switzerland, go to Progress > Goals > Custom Goal > Limit the units I drink > and set a daily limit of 2 units for men and 1 unit for women, and if you identify as neither male or female, choose 2 if your body is large body and 1 if your body is medium-sized or small.
  • In other countries, look up your national guidance and set the goal accordingly.

Different countries use different definitions of ‘units’ or ‘standard drinks’ to refer to a standard unit of alcohol. These allow clear comparisons between drinks of different types and enable you to keep a proper track on the actual alcohol you are consuming.

For example:

  • The UK uses the ‘unit’ which is 8g or 10ml of pure alcohol.
  • France uses ‘verres standard’ which is 10g or 12.7ml of pure alcohol.
  • Switzerland uses ‘verres standard’ or ‘Standardglas’ or ‘Gläser’ which is 12g or 15.2ml of pure alcohol.
  • Germany uses 'standardglas' which is 10-12g or 12.7 - 15.2ml of pure alcohol.
  • The US uses ‘standard drink’ which is 14g or 17.7ml of pure alcohol.

Try Dry® allows you to choose one of three definitions of units: UK, French and Swiss because Alcohol Change UK has a partner in France (Fédération Addiction) and a partner in Switzerland (Blaues Kreuz Schweiz). Alcohol Change UK is open to working with partners in countries who would like the app to include their definition and to work for their citizens.

The default setting is based on the country you say you are in when you signed-up, but it can be manually changed in Settings > Edit account details.

The calculations of ‘units’ used in the app is based on this setting, even if it uses the word ‘unit’.

From version 1.6.2 (3549), users in France, Germany, Switzerland and Norway can use standard European units for their country. Access the ‘Settings’ menu via tapping ‘More’ from the dashboard, then ‘Settings’ or tap the profile icon in the top right-hand corner of the dashboard screen to access ‘Settings’. Once in the ‘Settings menu, tap on ‘Edit account details’ then select your chosen country from the drop down menu.

Other questions

New for 2022-23

The app you are using for 2022 has been updated thanks to valuable feedback from people who took on Dry January® 2021, as a small charity we’ve worked hard to take this on board to make our app better. We hope you love it as much as we do.

Calendar view.
The calendar will now scroll up/down through the months removing the left/right navigation buttons. This allows the calendar to flow better.

Units Calendar.
Introduction of units calendar view. Many app users have asked to see their units consumed on the calendar. There is an option to view your calendar in units. By selecting the button above the calendar your dry days view will convert to units.

Introduction of wellbeing rating scales. Many people find it helpful to track their mood, energy, sleep, and cravings alongside their drinking/dry days. The benefits include better insight and awareness into triggers, consequences, and patterns. As well as motivation when you see improvement. Many people find this an important part of their journey when changing their relationship with alcohol.

Notes section.
Introduction of daily notes. Again, this is another feature that has been requested by many app users, the ability to record daily notes, reflections, events. Any notes entered are completely confidential to the app user. Engaging in this practice is known to help many people understand their relationship with alcohol better.

More section.
Introduction of the ‘More’ section, containing all the tips and tricks for getting set up and getting the most out of the app, as well as extra support, great offers and even more amazing free tools available at your fingertips.

You’ll need to update the app to see all of these changes. Head to the Apple or Google Play store to check you’re using the latest version.

Can I suggest something?

Yes! Sign up to our emails here and after Dry January® campaign period is over we’ll reach out for feedback, positive or negative, and we will work hard to incorporate it into future app updates.

We don’t take on improvement feedback in January (it’s pretty busy!) but if you do spot something that isn’t working as it should please let us know via our help centre.

Alcohol Change UK feel it is important to make the app available for free, we are a charity dedicated to reducing alcohol-related harm. We collate feature requests and feedback from our app users that are then prioritsed, chosen and tested by our app community.

8 million people planned to do Dry January® 2022, that’s incredible! If you want to help grow the movement, you can:

  1. Rate us. App store ratings help people find the Try Dry® app, help us spread its reach with a review. It only takes a minute and good ratings can help our app be found by those who need it.
  2. Tell your friends. With more flexibility to set a goal that suits everyone, now is a great time to share the app with friends and encourage them to join you on your journey.
  3. Give what you save. You’ll be sure to save some money by taking on Dry January®. If you’re able to, you can donate a percentage of what you save in the app.
  4. Fundraise. Your Dry January® can make a difference, and not just for your health. Here’s how to get started.

The mobile application is not intended for use, and must not be used, by people under 18 years of age. If you are under 18 and concerned about your drinking, you should talk confidentially to you GP as soon as possible.

Please check out the Try Dry® help centre, which may answer your question. If it doesn't there is a form at the bottom of the page that you can complete and a member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.