Dry January – Ways To Observe & Have Fun

  • Posted on: Jan 6 2023
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dry January ideas to have fun

Inspired by an article on WebMD

Alcohol often goes hand in hand with socializing. There’s a sailing day with friends. Dinner parties. A champagne toast at a wedding. A mimosa at brunch for Football.  But there are lots of reasons why you might take a break in the new year and observe Dry January which is becoming a thing.

Here are some ideas to abstain from alcohol and still have a good time.

What am I looking to get out of the celebration? It’s probably not actually the alcohol.

“It’s probably the social connection, the community, the esteem that it might bring,” says Eric Beeson, PhD, clinical associate professor at The Family Institute at Northwestern University in Illinois. “Does alcohol enhance that? Probably not.”  So lean into that. Here are ideas.

Consider Ordering a Mocktail

Have you heard of sober bars? They offer entire drink menus without alcohol. That makes it pretty easy to celebrate in a bar setting without the booze. And they’re popping up all over the U.S., Beeson says.  Or you can pick up something alcohol-free on the way to a party or event. You might be surprised by all of the options.

Mocktails are an easy choice “for people who want to be ‘sober curious’ or who want to cut back on drinking,” says Melissa Cyders, PhD, professor of psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI). “The key is it has to be something you enjoy drinking.”

You could go for a soda or a virgin daquiri. But why not spice things up with something unique?  Challenge bartenders to make the most creative nonalcoholic drink they can think of. Use high-quality ingredients, not the premade sugary stuff.

Add Social Activities

Everyone is different. That makes it hard to pinpoint the “best” thing to do. But try something where you have to use your hands, like bike-riding or tennis. Board games are another good choice. Something where you’re not just standing around talking, but you’re engaged in an activity. Or pick something you couldn’t (and shouldn’t) do while drinking.

For example, Beeson says he’s gone whitewater rafting for a bachelor party. “It’s probably best to remain sober when you’re cruising down a river that can kill you.”

Are you the party planner? Get creative!

You could arrange for massages or “maybe something more competitive, such as paintball or a round of golf,” says Joseph Volpicelli, MD, PhD, addiction specialist and founder of the Volpicelli Center.

Or your group could:

  • Learn How To Sail
  • Go to a rock-climbing gym
  • Enjoy the great hiking trails in the area
  • Pickup Some Good Books

People often get longer-lasting satisfaction from doing things instead of buying stuff, says happiness researcher Sonja Lyubomirksy, PhD, distinguished professor and vice chair of psychology at the University of California, Riverside.

Most celebrations — with or without alcohol — are already experiences, Lyubomirsky says. “You might go out to dinner or a party, travel, or go to a spa with friends.”

Here are some of her other tips on how to celebrate while boosting your well-being:

  • Spend time with others. Pick an activity that’ll help strengthen your relationships. “Anything you can do to connect with other people,” Lyubomirksy says.
  • Take on a challenge. Do something that’ll help you grow as a person. Or simply try something new and exciting. “Go learn how to skydive,” she says.
  • Pay it forward. This might not be something you normally think about when it comes to a celebration. But we tend to feel good about ourselves when we give back to society or do “an act of kindness,” So, if you’re socializing, reach out to someone who might not feel included. Or buy them a nonalcoholic drink, too.

Get Outdoors More

Do you drink to feel more relaxed? Spending time in nature can ease stress. So maybe take your celebration outside. You could:

  • Meet your friends at a park.
  • Take a group hike to a scenic overlook.
  • Make mocktails for a backyard get-together.

Bonus points if you pick something that gets you and your friends moving. Research backs up what you already know from experience: Being active outdoors can boost your mind and body.

Treat Yourself to Something Sweet

You don’t want to make sugar your only reward. But it’s OK to treat yourself on a special occasion. Seek out a new dessert spot in your area. Or visit an old favorite.

You could also:

  • Toast a new job with milkshakes.
  • Celebrate your birthday with an ice cream sundae bar.
  • Pair fruit with a chocolate fountain at your wedding.
  • Have after-dinner s’mores if there’s a firepit nearby.

Bring a Sober Buddy

It can be hard to celebrate without alcohol if everyone around you is drinking. So line up support. “If you’re going into an environment and you’re intending not to drink that night, tell a friend who can bring you that nonalcoholic beverage or help you choose an activity that’s incompatible with drinking,” Cyders says.

They can help you stay confident in your no-alcohol choice — and have a good time!

Thank You For Reading!

If you have questions about your health, feel free to speak with our doctors at Prime Medical, San Pedro’s simplest healthcare provider with your most frequently needed services on-site. Call (310) 548-0201.



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