Can Dry January Ignite Your Recovery and Lead to Lasting Sobriety?

Last Updated on January 23, 2023

For many people, January is a time for new changes and a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to reassess, create goals, and work towards a better you. If you want to step back and re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol, Dry January might be a great way to do it and start the year making healthier choices.

Related post: The 5 Types of Alcoholics

What is Dry January?

Dry January is an annual campaign that invites people to give up alcohol for the entire month of January. It originated in the U.K. in 2013 and has since spread to the U.S., where it has become a popular way to start the new year for many people. 

Benefits of participating in Dry January

If alcohol is a big part of your life, you might wonder why anyone would want to participate in Dry January. However, doing so has its benefits:

  • Participating in Dry January is an opportunity to evaluate your relationship with alcohol. If you think you might be drinking too much or your friends and loved ones have made comments about your drinking, this is a great way to sober up and consider making some changes. It’s also an excellent chance to take notice of when and why you tend to drink. That way, you can find alternative ways to deal with life.
  • You’ll probably notice some health benefits. If you drink often, you might notice some positive effects on your health when you stop. For example, you may get better quality sleep, have more energy, or even lose weight. However, suppose you’re a very heavy drinker, and you notice that you get the shakes, vomit, or have hallucinations after quitting alcohol abruptly. In that case, you’re experiencing alcohol withdrawal, which can be life-threatening without medical treatment. You should get help from a doctor or detox center right away.
  • You might save money: If you typically drink a lot, you’ll likely save a decent amount of money by participating in Dry January. Once you realize how much you’re spending on alcohol each month, the savings alone might be enough to make you reconsider your actions and seek out help to continue your sobriety for the long term.

The drawbacks of Dry January

Although there are many distinct benefits of participating in Dry January, some people might also experience some drawbacks of suddenly quitting alcohol for a month. For example:

  • You might experience withdrawal symptoms. If you’re used to drinking heavily regularly, you might experience unpleasant and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms. This is a risk you may not want to take. If you want to get sober but you feel like you drink frequently enough that you might have some withdrawal symptoms, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. A medical detox program can safely help you get through alcohol withdrawal by treating the symptoms and providing round-the-clock medical and clinical care.
  • You might immediately resume harmful drinking habits on February 1st. Even if you do make it through the whole month of January sober, if you’ve been drinking regularly for a while, there’s a good chance you could return to the same behavior come February 1st. If you intend to change your drinking habits for good, you’ll likely need to complete a treatment program.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are a severe risk

Unfortunately, quitting cold turkey isn’t an option for everyone. If you’re a heavy drinker, you should consult your doctor before participating in Dry January. Otherwise, you could risk facing uncomfortable or severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Strong cravings
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tremors
  • Shaking 
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Itching
  • Headaches 
  • Depersonalization 

Treating alcohol use disorder

Many Americans suffer from alcohol addiction, but few get the help they need. According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 28.3 million had alcohol use disorder in the past year.2 If you are  participating in Dry January to recover from overindulging during the holidays, it may be an eye-opening experience that reveals the severity of your drinking habits. This might be a catalyst for ongoing recovery and long-lasting sobriety for some. Yet, Dry January could be an ineffective attempt at establishing a sober life for others.

The truth is, alcohol use disorder is a chronic brain disorder that typically requires professional treatment to overcome. Like other chronic conditions, people addicted to alcohol will need an adequate amount of ongoing treatment and personalized care to ensure they remain sober. This treatment consists of medical and clinical care that helps people address the causes of their addiction and make positive life changes to stay sober. With continued support and treatment, achieving a stable, sober life is possible.

Related post: Why Do I Need Alcohol Abuse Counseling?

Alcohol rehab Austin, TX

If you or a loved one is considering participating in Dry January because you’re concerned about your drinking habits, completing alcohol rehab Austin, TX is another viable option. With residential rehab, you’ll have round-the-clock medical and clinical support after detox to help you sustain a new sober lifestyle and address the underlying causes of your unhealthy drinking habits.

Although Dry January is a great way to cut back and reassess your relationship with alcohol, you may need more assistance to get sober and stay that way. If so, you’re not alone in this! At Nova Recovery Center, our caring and experienced professionals are available to help you identify your substance use disorder(s) and establish a personalized, evidence-based plan for treatment.

To get started with our alcohol rehab program in Austin, Texas, please get in touch with us online or call (888) 427-4932 to speak with an admissions representative. We work with many insurance providers and can help you verify your insurance benefits for alcohol addiction treatment while you wait on the phone.



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Nova Recovery Center is dedicated to helping you or your loved one get help. Please call or fill out this form for a confidential consultation. One of our understanding, dedicated advisors will contact you about your options. Begin healing today.

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