GO DRY THIS JANUARY AND GIVE UP DRINKING

Learn how you can go dry this January and give up drinking. Find out what resources can help you!

As more people are attempting a sober month — or a sober life — stores are filling shelves with beautiful buzz-free beverages. Bartenders are shaking up sumptuous zero-proof cocktails. Bookstores are offering a bevy of “quit-lit” stories. There are support groups beyond AA and online communities for any niche, intense recovery-focused fitness classes and serene alcohol-free retreats.

Go Dry and Give Up Drinking

This year, the Star Tribune is gathering all the expert advice and mocktail recipes you’ll need to complete Dry January, including a Facebook page where you can check in and enlist support. No white-knuckling needed.

The challenge comes at a time when many of us could use the help. Since COVID-19 hit, Minnesota liquor store sales have spiked. More people in the U.S., and women in particular, have reported drinking more heavily and more often. Nearly one in four Americans say they’re drinking more to cope with pandemic stress.

Resources

Back when Minneapolis musician and then home brewer Paul Pirner quit drinking, a decision inspired by a couple of toddlers, bars didn’t have other options.

During a holiday party, drinks missing from their hands, he and his neighbor Jeff Hollander decided to brew a better NA beer. Eventually, research and development for Hairless Dog Brewing Co. moved from Pirner’s garage in Uptown Minneapolis to a production facility in Stevens Point, Wis. Today, liquor stores locally and nationally stock their beer, including an IPA as hoppy and foamy as any craft brew.

Get Curious

If you pair this challenge with mindfulness — by doing daily journaling, perhaps — you can approach it as a chance to look more closely at why you’re imbibing, she said. “What might you discover about yourself that you don’t notice when you’re drinking?”

In fact, start the month with an understanding that might happen. “How are you going to handle that? What is your plan?” If you do drink, ask yourself: “Why? What purpose was it serving?”

Experiment

The biggest barrier to completing a month-long challenge is “judgment of self,” said Annie Grace, author of “This Naked Mind,” a book that spawned a business that includes live events, 30-day alcohol “experiments” and other coaching programs.

“The moment I was able to get curious about my behavior without judgment, everything changed,” she said. Instead of asking “What’s wrong with me?” Grace began asking: “Why is this substance having this effect on me?”

The monthlong breaks of today “feel like a very different conversation,” Grace said. “It is a wellness conversation. People are going into it with curiosity.

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