If you’re trying to rehab after a mulled wine-soaked Covid-mas, you’re in good company. A record 7.9 million (one in seven) Britons pledge to do Dry January this year, according to the Alcohol Change UK charity, an impressive 22% increase from the record 6.5 million from last year.
This is no surprise – nearly 30% of us found ourselves drinking alcohol in 2021, more than in 2020, but hangovers have gotten boring now (as has anxiety related to at cov). According to the latest research, a quarter of us now want to cut back and reap the rewards of a few sober weeks, as research by the University of Sussex found those who cut alcohol for a month reported more than energy, better skin, weight loss and less drink for the following months – not to mention a clearer head for those January back-to-work alarms.
The prospect of cutting end-of-day quarantines can seem daunting when working from home, but luckily 2022 brings more sob bubbles than ever to get you through. From apps that track your progress to the UK’s first alcohol-free off-license on Great Portland Street in London, here’s your handy guide.
If you’re going to drop the sauce for a month, at least reap the rewards. Try Dry, the app of Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January, is all about seeing what you’ve saved, from calories you cut by cutting out espresso martinis to pounds you didn’t burn by. ordering that next box of wine.
There’s a feature to keep track of your “dry streaks” – to record the days you don’t drink – as well as a health quiz. You can use it for any month of the year.
Try Dry isn’t the only app to help kick this habit. Other essential Dry January downloads include I Am Sober to log your progress, Saying When to understand your triggers, and Sober Grid to connect with other members of the alcohol-free community. With so many attending Dry January this year, you might make some friends.
Writer Ruby Warrington is credited with coining the term “sober curious” and her book of the same name has inspired many to explore sobriety.
His latest track, The Sober Curious Reset, was released last year and features a 100-day process to radically rethink your drinking. Each day offers observations, exercises and ideas to help you “break free” from the societal conditioning around alcohol.
“I have more self-confidence, regular rules, better relationships, I’m more productive and I’m more honest with myself, and I don’t hate myself, I could go on,” Warrington told Standard.
This Naked Mind by Annie Grace is another hero to add to your lighted shelf, while Millie Gooch’s thought-provoking guide, The Sober Girl Society Handbook, also came out last year – the perfect motivation if you’re struggling to go past the halfway point.
Meet the sober team
The authors aren’t the only gurus singing about the benefits of drought. Former Made in Chelsea star Caggie Dunlop talks about her journey with understated curiosity or “intuitive consumption” on her podcast, Saturn Returns, and regularly shares updates with her 386,000 Instagram followers.
She says the biggest obstacle was the people asking at parties, “It got so tedious that I just started answering this question with” because if I do, I’m going to sink into a pit. Self-loathing and depression so gloomy that it will take me weeks to recover “- which usually silences them”.
Others to follow on Instagram include yoga instructor @catmeffan for advice on how to reframe your socializing without drinking, sobriety trainer @besoberandquit for 30-second advice videos and the authors @ lovesober.cic for optimistic motivation and a podcast on quitting smoking.
Take it easy
They say one of Dry January’s biggest challenges is getting through the first week, so grill this Friday with bubbles of the sweet variety. Reviewers say Scavi & Ray’s alcohol-free sparkling wine is a compelling alternative to prosecco, while French Bloom’s sparkling wine offers an organic option without the hangover.
If you love whiskey, try Celtic Soul’s alcohol-free alcohol, Stryyk Not Gin offers the perfect replacement for G&T, while Seedlip and Punchy Drinks are renowned for their mocktails. Let Days Brewing Co be your go-to for non-alcoholic beer, or end your week with a Little Rick Pina cocktail containing CBD instead of rum. Sipsmith even offers a luxury non-alcoholic “Swancierge” cocktail service using its new spirit FreeGlider alcohol-free. One lucky fan will receive a free mixologist-made mocktail and personalized goodies on their doorstep each day this month and you can nominate yourself or a loved one here – the perfect surprise for that loathsome best friend to celebrate her birthday for the month of dry January.
Don’t know which soft drink you like? Browse the bottles in store. The creator of the Mindful Drinking Festival, Club Soda, has just opened the UK’s first alcohol-free off-license on Great Portland Street, offering a wide selection of luxury alternatives from still and alcohol-free sparkling wines from Oddbirds to Fluere alcohol-free spirits with raspberry, smoked agave and spicy cane flavors. When February arrives, you won’t want to go back.