Many people who drink to excess wonder if they should take a break every once in a while. Dry January has become a trend across social media, and many people tout the health benefits of going alcohol-free for a short time.
For Dry January, millions of people decide to quit drinking for the entire month of January. People have many reasons they may choose to participate; mostly, though, they do it because of concern about their health or lifestyle.
According to recent research, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a considerable uptick in alcohol and other substance use. As a result, people drank too much, with 31% of regular drinkers admitting to drinking up to 12 days in the past month. In addition, those drinkers were highly likely to binge drink. It's no wonder many people hope to "reset" their drinking patterns or give it up entirely.
Quitting alcohol is always a good decision for your physical and mental health. But if you start drinking again, it's likely you'll reverse the benefits.
Why Do People Participate in Dry January?
Quitting drinking has psychological benefits as well as health benefits. Many people want to slow down their drinking for their physical and mental health. Some of the benefits, such as better sleep and clearer skin, occur right away. Stomach problems clear up after a couple of weeks. People feel better about themselves, get to work on time more often, and find that they have extra time in their day for other pursuits when they are not using alcohol.
At the end of January, though, many people go right back to drinking and their unhealthy lifestyle. Some people stay sober or drink less as a result of their experience. However, for many, alcohol use disorder prevents them from getting and staying sober, even when they realize they want to. All of the weight loss, clear skin, and overall healthier lifestyle dry up into thin air when they start drinking again. It’s not possible to be addicted to alcohol and live a healthy life.
Many People “Fail” Dry January
Many people try to get sober for January but fail. Some of them probably never intended to get sober in the first place. After all, Dry January is very similar to a New Year’s Resolution. There’s also the fact that as soon as you finish your 31 days sober, the plan is to go back to drinking in most cases.
The “break” from drinking doesn’t stop a person from having an alcohol use disorder. Instead, it reinforces the dangerous idea that you can go back to drinking safely. Unfortunately, it’s just not possible for many people to do so. Your addiction and the physical damage it does to the body don't "reset" in 30 days.
If you try to get sober for Dry January and fail, it’s not your fault. Alcohol use disorder is a disease. Your body’s dependence on alcohol can cause withdrawal symptoms that range from mild headaches or nausea to dangerous symptoms like seizures or fever. This is why it can be so challenging to get sober in the first place.
You Can Get Sober And Start Recovering
If you or somebody you love lives with alcohol use disorder, you’re not alone. So many people from all walks of life were once in your shoes and now live a life free from addiction.
It can be frightening to admit that you’ve lost control of your drinking. But we’re here to help! We know what it’s like, and we’re here to help you navigate your first steps to a new way of life.
Please reach out at 619-363-4767 to learn more about our programs. All calls are confidential.
Many people who struggle with substance use may feel awkward calling it an addiction. There is still a lot of stigma behind that word, and it may not feel accurate based on how you used drugs. Maybe you were a binge drinker or “only partied a few times a week.” Substance use disorder doesn't care how much you used or what you used. The words are more nuanced than that. The term means anyone who uses illicit substances, drinks to get drunk, or misuses substances, usually to their own detriment.
Are You Using Substances To Get High Or Drunk?
A person with a substance use disorder uses street drugs, alcohol, prescription pills, or other substances to get high. For example, a person whose drug of choice is alcohol may drink only to get drunk.
Substance use disorder is a term to describe anyone who has an unhealthy or dependent relationship with alcohol, illicit drugs, or prescription drugs. Illegal drugs are marijuana, heroin, cocaine, or any other drug you can buy on the street. People who drink to get drunk typically have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. A person who misuses substances may be taking a legal prescription, but more than prescribed because they are trying to get more of a side effect such as euphoria.
People with substance use disorders often use drugs impulsively and obsess over their drug use. Addiction can cause cycles of heavy drug use, followed by pain and regret, that lead to more use. Nobody chooses to have a substance use disorder, but you can decide to get help when you realize you may have a problem.
Accepting That You May Have Substance Use Disorder
Using drugs or alcohol is an unhealthy coping skill that can keep you from living life to your full potential. If you find that your alcohol or substance use interferes with your quality of life, you probably have a substance use disorder. Many drugs are highly addictive, including alcohol. Addiction can cause many negative consequences in your life, such as financial problems, relationship issues, and even trouble with the law.
Admitting you need help is the first step toward recovery. Take an honest look at your life right now. Are you happy with it? Are you accomplishing the things you want? Are your relationships being hindered by your substance use? Have you lost anything due to the substances you use? Are you lacking money, relationships, or self-respect? Addiction can cause a lot of harm.
You don’t have to be a “fall-down drunk” or live on the streets to have a problem with alcohol or drugs. If you’re unhappy and having trouble quitting substances, you may have a problem with them.
We now know that substance use disorder is a disease of the brain. It’s not a moral failing or something you need to be locked away for. Instead, there is now treatment that can help you reclaim your life. You’re worth the work!
Getting Help for Addiction
If you or somebody you love has a problem with drugs, we’re here to help. You can reclaim your life and get started on the path to healing and wellness. Get in touch with your questions at 619-363-4767. All calls are confidential.
When most people think of recovery from addiction, their focus is on quitting the use of drugs and alcohol. Some people adjust to life without the use of drugs pretty easily. Things get better, their emotions even out, and they’re ready to tackle a new way of living. But for people with mental health issues, it sometimes doesn’t get easier. Things may feel “off,” or they may have mood swings, anxiety attacks, or other symptoms.
Why Do People With Addiction Have Mental Health Disorders?
People who have mental health disorders are just like other people in recovery. They once used drugs to feel “okay.” When the drugs are removed, however, symptoms usually don’t just go away. People who masked a medical disorder by using drugs also won’t “get well” by simply giving up the drugs they were self-medicating with.
People with mental health issues are more likely to use drugs. Whether they know it or not, they typically use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate some of their symptoms like depression or anxiety. When these symptoms come back, they must be taken seriously and treated.
Mental Health and Drug Rehab
In treatment, you’ll be assessed regularly for symptoms of a mental health issue. If you seem to have a disorder, you’ll meet with qualified professionals. A psychiatrist or therapist can help you understand your disorder, explain the symptoms, and help you form a treatment plan.
Taking care of your health and understanding new coping mechanisms can help you a lot in recovery. If you’re on a new medication, it may take a month or so to feel any different. But once you’ve got a treatment plan in place, and start working on it, you’ll begin to feel healthier and usually happier.
Nothing changes overnight, but working towards optimum mental health is very important in recovery. If you’re struggling, reach out to the treatment staff or mental health department to get more help.
Getting Help for Addiction
Yes! We are currently still helping people get clean and sober during the COVID-19 crisis. Click here to learn more. We want to help! You’re never alone, and we want to help you reclaim your life.
Contact us at 619-363-4767 to learn more about how we can help.