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4 Tips For Successfully Completing Dry January, From 2 Sobriety Experts

Like many other folks, I’ve decided to take the plunge and participate in Dry January. After a party-packed holiday season (and being hungover for a solid two days after New Year’s Eve), taking a month-long detox from alcohol is exactly what my body needs. But I’m not alone when I say that I need some tips for successfully completing Dry January, especially as a twentysomething-year-old.

In 2024, more and more Gen Zers are exploring the world of sober curiosity. And whether you’re thinking about cutting out alcohol completely, or even going California sober, Dry January is a great way to explore sobriety. I’ve gotta admit, as someone who likes to indulge in a tequila shot (or three) from time to time, a tasty mocktail sounds absolutely divine this month.

While going sober this January may be easy for some, cutting out alcohol can be a challenge that many of us don’t exactly expect. Between happy hours, parties, and wanting to indulge in a ‘lil bevvy at dinner (a dirty martini is my weakness), the desire for a cocktail can manifest pretty often in a twentysomething’s life. So, I talked to certified Recovery Specialist and founder of Active Recovery Companions, Taylor Wilson, and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Substance Abuse Associate, Annalyse Lucero, to get some tips on completing Dry January 2024. Cheers… with a mocktail, of course!

Find your why.

Starting 2024 out alcohol-free is, obviously, great for your health. And while completing Dry January is a great goal, take some time to think about why going sober is important to you — even if it’s just to start the year on a healthier note. “It’s important to be clear with yourself why you’re doing this and what you’re hoping to get out of it,” Lucero says. “Let the answer be your anchor that helps you stay disciplined.”

Additionally, consider setting some goals for yourself during your Dry January journey. For some, the goal can look like total and complete sobriety. For others, however, their month can involve simply cutting down their weekly alcohol intake, or taking the California sober approach. It’s completely up to you!

“By setting realistic goals, you’ll avoid feeling overwhelmed and increase your chances of success,” Wilson says. “Each small milestone accomplished will reinforce your confidence and determination in maintaining your sobriety.”

Enter your mocktail era.

As I mentioned before, I love a fun beverage. Sue me! And just because you may be cutting out cocktails during January, doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in a yummy drink: Mocktails exist, y’all, and they’re good. Not only that, but there are alcohol-free options that mimic the taste of beer, wine, and even liquor. I can’t be the only one who likes the taste of mezcal, right?

“By indulging in these exciting non-alcoholic options, you won’t feel deprived during Dry January and may even discover new favorite drinks that can replace alcohol in social situations,” Wilson says. “Being alcohol-free does not mean you need to drink juice. Instead, try mixing drinks with AF spirits and pour them into your favorite fancy glass. There are even top beer brands with alcohol-free options too!” So, at happy hour or dinner, ask your server if there are any alcohol-free options you can sip on — they’re more common than you’d think!

Oh, and if you’re the type to fix up a cocktail at home, mocktails are surprisingly easy to make, too. Not to mention, they’re way less expensive since you aren’t paying for spirits. To get started on your mocktail journey, there are a ton of sober influencers who have mocktails down pat. “You don’t need to pull out a cauldron and cast some magic spell to make a mocktail that tastes good and looks pretty too,” Lucero says. “You can definitely find some incredible inspiration online.”


This drink is deficated to my 💘 picababy Paola! She requested an alcohol-free drink as she’s pregnant and my drinks always have her craving 😂 Thank you my love! #mocktail #mocktailmonday #deinkrecipe #recipe #pregnant #pregnantdrinks #pregnantmocktails #pregnancytiktok #pregnancycravings #mocktailmom #antojos #antojosdeembarazo #embarazada

♬ La Bebe – Yng Lvcas

Bring a friend, or a few.

This year, my best friends and partner are completing Dry January with me, which is bound to make our weekend plans a lot easier. (If you need us, we’ll be at our city’s mocktail bars.) So, if your friends are down for it, consider getting a group together to complete the challenge with you! Not only will this promote healthy habits within your circle, but it will help to keep each other accountable.

“Relational healing is the most successful way to ensure long-term results,” Lucero says. “Set your goals, define your obstacles and strengths, and then share with each other what support looks like for each of you.”

And if people in your circle turn their noses up at the idea of Dry January, consider taking a break from them as well. “Surround yourself with a positive and supportive network of friends and family who understand and respect your decision to participate in Dry January,” Wilson says. “Having people who can empathize with your struggles and celebrate your successes will significantly increase your chances of staying motivated and committed.”

remember that it’s not supposed to be “easy.”

In the words of my mother, “If it were easy, everyone would do it.” In your 20s, alcohol is a normal and reoccurring fixture, especially in social settings. And while you may be on your sober journey (even if it’s just for a month), not everyone is — and that’s OK. Dry January is a challenge for a reason, so it’s normal to feel some type of way throughout the month — and yes, that includes missing alcohol altogether.

“It’s important to recognize that you won’t just be missing out on taking shots with the group, you may be reflecting
something to the people around you that they aren’t ready to look at, which can leave you feeling isolated and lonely,” Lucero says.

So, instead of going out on the weekends, take this month to try out some new hobbies and distract yourself from what you might be missing out on. “Engaging in new hobbies, exercising, spending time in nature, or practicing mindfulness techniques like meditation or journaling are all effective ways to occupy your mind and create a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle,” Wilson says. “It’s essential to find healthy alternatives to replace the time and energy previously spent on drinking.”

To my fellow participants in Dry January, know that you aren’t alone in this intimidating challenge. And, when the going gets tough, just know that there are thousands (if not millions) of Dry January participants out there, toasting their mocktails to you. Salut!

julianna (she/her) is an associate editor at her campus where she oversees the wellness vertical and all things sex and relationships, wellness, mental health, astrology, and gen-z. during her undergraduate career at chapman university, julianna's work appeared in as if magazine and taylor magazine. additionally, her work as a screenwriter has been recognized and awarded at film festivals worldwide. when she's not writing burning hot takes and spilling way too much about her personal life online, you can find julianna anywhere books, beers, and bands are.