Extending Dry January? 5 Tips for a Sober-Curious Lifestyle.

It's time to figure out your signature non-alcoholic cocktail.

Image by Julia Rettenmaier via iStock/Getty Images Plus

New year tradition Dry January is officially over. For those who participated in the alcohol-free period, the experience may have sparked interest in a damp or sober lifestyle. Thinking about extending Dry January and not sure what’s next? DC-based psychotherapist and alcohol addiction specialist Sahar Kabiri and Gigi Arandid, founder of DC’s first alcohol-free bar Binge Bar, share their tips for shifting your long-term relationship with alcohol. 

Log drinks on your phone 

Part of the reason Dry January is impactful is because it can draw attention to how much drinking is a part of our lives. Realizing how often you had to turn down a beverage in January may have been eye-opening, shining a light on unacknowledged habits. For those looking to reduce alcohol consumption, Kabiri suggests logging what you drink on your phone. The practice will help you be more mindful of your drinking, and help you realize when you’re ready to switch to a non-alcoholic option while out and about. 

Learn your patterns  

If you’re looking to limit or cut out alcohol, Kabiri says it’s important to start by exploring what feelings, people, and places push you to drink. Maybe you pour a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day to relax. Or maybe hanging with friends revolves around weeknight happy hours and weekend bottomless mimosas. Once you’ve identified your personal drinking patterns, you can start to figure out how to work around them. Consider swapping activities where there’s high pressure to drink with fun hobbies. Kabiri suggests taking a class to learn a new skill or focusing on self care with a massage or fitness class. 

Find like-minded friends 

Binge Bar’s Arandid has cultivated a circle of non-drinking friends in the city. For her, developing a support system has been an essential step to maintaining sobriety for almost six years. She says the amount of people committed to a dry lifestyle “here in our backyard” is significant. “Don’t be scared to ask for help because this wonderful group of people are really here to collaborate, to support you and encourage you to stay on the path,” says Arandid. She’s working to bring these individuals together at alcohol-free events at Binge Bar.  

Master your non-alcoholic order  

Heading out with friends or trying new restaurants can be daunting when going damp or dry, especially if places aren’t inclusive of your needs. Arandid notes the frustration she feels when she asks restaurants for a non-alcoholic cocktail, and the best they can offer is a Shirley Temple. Her solution: Stand your ground, and know what to ask for. Bars are always equipped with club soda, tonic water, and juice, so if you ask for club soda with a splash of cranberry juice, they should be able to accommodate. At home, stock your bar cart with interesting no-ABV spirits to craft your own cocktails. Currently, Arandid likes making spritzes with non-alcoholic sparkling wines. 

Give yourself grace 

Cutting back on drinking isn’t a one-size-fits-all lifestyle. Rather, it’s an experience that looks different for everyone. Kabiri says it’s essential people don’t feel discouraged if they struggle with their drinking goals, and they should understand setbacks happen. You can always bounce back—especially with the help of others.

Tory Basile
Editorial Fellow