To the person that had a slip during Dry January:
2023 rolled around and you set your sights on not drinking for the month of January.
Congrats! That’s a great intention to set to start off your new year. Perhaps you started off
strong, noticing the incredible impact of no alcohol on your system. You wake up earlier,
without a hangover, and head to the gym. You notice you don’t have to drink to have fun in
social settings. As the days go on, you slowly start to see the stress build up as you go back to
work, school, family life, etcetera. The January blues roll in, and the sun sets at 4:45 pm. On
certain days, your fitness routine is swapped out for sitting at home to manage your stress. Then,
you find alcohol in your fridge that you didn’t intend on thinking about this month, and you
drink it. The day is long, you’re stressed and tired, and you go back to an old buddy that you
relied on for so long. And the alcohol worked for coping! Until it didn’t, and perhaps you’re
feeling guilt, shame, or frustration because you slipped up and drank.
Pause. Deep breath. You are okay. Slips happen! Progress is absolutely not linear.
Humans go to what is engrained and what “works”. Whether that’s alcohol, drugs,
shopping, food, relationships, gambling, overworking, overexercising, the list goes on. So many
of our coping skills, which take the pain away, actually detach us from our reality. Humans
struggle with accepting and listening to the feelings we have, the feelings are uncomfortable, and
they make us face a reality that we so desperately avoid. Instead of sitting in the emotions, riding
the waves that come, and allowing them to pass – we avoid them. And of course we avoid, we
aren’t given a guidebook on how to cope in a way that feels authentic and healthy. Yet we are
still left with those thoughts, feelings, and quite often, behaviors that keep us in an old cycle of
dysfunction and dysregulation.
So, what do you do if you slip? Well, I’m here to say that you are not a bad person for
slipping up and drinking. You continue on, reminding yourself of the initial intention you set
when you were curious about Dry January. Perhaps you realign your intention, reminding
yourself that your goal is to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol. Maybe you want to
decrease the number of days you drink, or the amount you drink in one sitting. Your goal of
wellness is a fantastic goal. You don’t have to be perfect. You are already doing so much by
acknowledging and increasing your awareness of the reality you are in. Perhaps you 6 months
ago, or 2 years ago, would’ve never thought to evaluate your relationship with substances!
Search inward for that compassion and love for trying your best.
Enjoy that mocktail. Today is a new day.
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Taproot Therapy, LCSW, PLLC
285 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10016