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bitchy | Going ‘damp’ instead of dry is about ‘improving your relationship with alcohol’


Do any of you do Dry January? In case someone doesn’t know what that is, it’s a pledge to not drink alcohol for the entire month of January. It’s a good way to jump start New Year’s fitness and financial goals because it means not consuming empty calories or spending a fortune on booze. Apparently, few make it the full 31 days. So there’s a new trend this year: Damp January. Damp January asks folks to cut down on the amount of drinks they consume and incorporate some non-drinking days into their routine. The important part about Damp-ening is that it’s a lifestyle shift, not just a month challenge. Becoming a Damper means reexamining your relationship with alcohol. Here are the ways to Dampen your life:

Reflect on Your Why: Georgia Foster, a world-renowned clinical hypnotherapist and author of Drink Less in 7 Days, recommends tracking any negative emotions that come up for you before you drink. Maybe you’re feeling tired, angry, bored, restless, or lonely.

“Once you’ve noted the negative, you can bring in the positive — specifically, thoughts, feelings, or memories that make you feel good such as love, laughter, or something that makes you feel safe. “Keep bringing emotions that ignite the logical, intuitive you before you drink,” suggests Foster. You’ll find you’re calmer before you drink and you’re able to curb “fast and furious fearful-based drinking.”

Commit to Alcohol-Free Days: If you tend to drink socially throughout the week, Foster encourages committing to several alcohol-free days (AFDs) per week. “It’s a beautiful way to balance weekly drinking — and also good for healthy sober sleep too,” she notes. If you’re a less frequent drinker, maybe you do a certain number of AFDs per month.

Find Alternatives: Dr. Carnahan says switching up where you’re hanging with friends can make a world of a difference. “You may want to choose different environments, like a coffee shop instead of a nightclub or bar or different groups of friends doing something you enjoy — hiking, camping, skiing, cooking, book club, etc. — that involves other activities you find enjoyable besides just drinking alcohol,” she notes.

And if you feel like you need to have a drink in your hand at a party, find a mocktail you like or another alternative (Dr. Carnahan likes San Pellegrino in a martini glass with lime) that makes you feel like you’re still participating in the festivities even if you’re skipping alcohol that day or have reached your limit.

Be Compassionate With Yourself: If you’re struggling to cut back, acknowledge that there may be underlying pain, sadness, or trauma that’s driving your substance use, suggests Dr. Carnahan. “There are healthier ways to deal with pain, but we must be compassionate with ourselves in the process,” she points out, encouraging people who are going damp (or dry) to be gentle with themselves as they’ll feel previously-numbed, painful emotions creep back in.

In times like these, she says you might spend time in nature, play with your pets, connect with friends or loved ones, meditate or engage in another spiritual practice in an effort to get connected and comforted.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail to keep your commitment,” says Dr. Carnahan. “If you are creating a new habit, it may take an average of many tries to successfully ingrain the new habit into your subconscious.”

[From InStyle via Yahoo!]

I’m having a little fun playing with the name, but I see the value in making moderation trendy. The article starts off by saying the pandemic really messed us up, especially women, when it came to drinking. I know the whole “Wine Mom” thing went from an occasional joke to everywhere during the pandemic. Much of the advice above is solid. It’s true that having a glass of something in your hand really helps in social situations. Not just psychologically for you, but also keeps others from pushing drinks on you. My go-to is always a soda water with lime, but I suggest a highball with ice rather than a martini glass. It lasts longer.

And while giving it a trendy name like Damp January and making challenges like non-drinking days may seem like this is more clever than constructive, I think it’s a good start. Again, the article is coming at this as a reaction to pandemic behavior. During lockdown, most people who weren’t already alcoholics were given a lot of leeway because it was such a difficult time. No one knew how to cope properly. It doesn’t take much to establish a pattern when it comes to drinking. And the best thing to do is break that pattern to avoid dependency. So while this might seem a little too packaged and California Sober for some, I’ll bet this helps a lot of people pull back. Granted, much of the article talks about a subscription-based app called Sunnyside that promotes this Damp approach. But let’s face it, apps work. They have a 14-day free trial so if you’ve been at all concerned with your drinking, you can give it a try. Or, if you are just curious, start with the steps above.

I’m just worried that once we commit to a Damp Lifestyle, someone’s going to come along and suggest we now go for Moist Living. Maybe Dewy Weekday Challenges or Humid Party Nights. These names!

Photos credit: Inga Seliverstova, Monstera, Rachel Claire


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