This mindset shift could be exactly what you’ve been missing in a number of areas in life.
30 days hath September; April, June and November; All the rest have 31; Except for dry January; Which has 5,782 — Dry January poem
F*ck Dry January.
I say that not out of disdain for what it stands for, as the decision to stop drinking for 30 days and give one’s body and mind a break from alcohol is one of the best decisions that someone can make.
However, I can’t get on board with it anymore.
As I think about the science behind habit formation and change, as well as the physiological and psychological effects that individuals develop from alcohol over time, I now encourage individuals to attempt a more complete holistic commitment I call Dry-90.
Dry-90 is the decision not to drink for 90 days at any time during the course of the year, but typically, its focus would be from January 1st to March 31st for all those looking to begin their year with this as a New Year’s resolution.
It is much for effective and helpful than Dry January for a number of different reasons.
Dry January has become too much of a fad
It’s similar to how people went crazy over the Paleo or Atkins diet some years ago, and it now just seems to be cool to say you’re doing a Dry January or Sober October.
People are excited to do it to be able to post on their social media posts how progressive and in tune with their overall health they are. They say they are going to “take a break” without any true long-term commitment on their mind.
The thought is to get through the 30 days and then go back to drinking even more on February 1st (hence the term Wet February). Some people can make it through, while others may only get through a week or two before deciding that Dry January is “silly” and unnecessary.
For those who can make it through the entire month, the feeling that they could complete the challenge without completely losing their minds is signal enough for them that they don’t have an issue with alcohol and all is well.
However, it doesn’t make sure the individual has done the important internal introspective work needed during these 30 days to truly understand their relationship with alcohol and know if this may need more time.
This takes us to our second reason.
It forces you to consider something more long term
While 30 days is a good start, it’s such a quick blip on the radar of life that it doesn’t truly get one in the right mindset to consider what a true long-term commitment to not drinking anymore could look like.
Dry-90 immediately triples the time frame that one is signing up to abstain from drinking and forces the participant to look at their habits to assess if such a decision is something they can make.
Once they realize that 90 days is possible, the thought process then becomes, what else could be possible? Could they go any longer?
This thought process of if 90 days could turn into forever is what the longer-term view is meant to stoke inside the participant from the beginning. While 30 days is not bad and starting small is an excellent strategy for a lot of things, in this situation, signing up for a longer commitment would help one wrap their mind around the idea of a much longer commitment if needed.
Taking away the option to get through a quick 30-day stint allows the participant to assess what their life could be like for an extended period and takes us to the 3rd and most important reason why Dry-90 works better.
30 days is just not long enough to see the FULL possible change
There are several positive things that you can experience over 30 days of not drinking. We talk about many of the immediate changes one can realize in AINYF consistently.
However, to truly understand the effectiveness of this decision, one needs to experience the compound effect of these things getting better over time.
Within 30 days, you will feel naturally better in many ways related to health and mental clarity. For most people who don’t fall on the dangerous side of the alcohol spectrum, it usually takes about two weeks to get the remaining alcohol out of the system and then start to feel the positive effects.
You should be able to think clearer and sleep much better once this time has elapsed, and your body begins to rewire itself to create new neurons and synapses related to your new habits and lifestyle. This development happens exponentially over time, and you’ll find your thinking and overall health improving tremendously as you get further away from your AC date.
However, starting drinking only two weeks after your body has begun this rejuvenation process will not allow you to fully see the significant process and growth you can experience without alcohol hindering your ability.
By extending this out to 90 days, you are allowing your body to develop to its full potential without alcohol and will then be able to compare the Dry-90 version of yourself with your former self.
The growth you will see in these 90 days will be well beyond anything you could’ve experienced in only 30 days, as that additional two months of abstinence will have an ROI that will make a significant difference.
And while I can’t promise that you won’t still decide to go back to drinking once that time is complete, at least you’ll have a much better view and understanding of the amazing version of yourself you’re giving up because of it.