Beat the booze: From tracking apps to quit lit books, this is your Dry January 2022 survival guide

·5-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

If you’re attempting a detox after a mulled wine-soaked Covid-mas, you’re in good company. According to the charity Alcohol Change UK, a record 7.9 million (one in seven) Brits are pledging to do Dry January this year — an impressive 22 per cent increase on last year’s record 6.5 million.

It’s no surprise — almost 30 per cent of us found ourselves turning to booze in 2021, more than in 2020, but the hangovers have got boring now (as has the cov-anxiety). According to latest research, a quarter of us are now keen to cut down and reap the rewards of a sober few weeks as research by the University of Sussex found those who cut out alcohol for a month reported more energy, better skin, weight loss and drinking less for the following months — not to mention a clearer head for those dreary January back-to-work alarms.

The prospect of cutting out the end-of-day quarantinis may sound daunting when you’re working from home but, mercifully, 2022 brings more sob-pport bubbles than ever to help you through. From apps that track your progress to the UK’s first alcohol-free off-licence on London’s Great Portland Street, this is your dry-guide.

Drink smart

If you’re going to lay off the sauce for a month, at least reap the rewards. Try Dry, the app from Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January, is all about seeing what you’ve saved, from the calories you’ve cut out by laying off the espresso martinis to the pounds you’ve not spent by ordering that next box of wine.

The Sober Grid app  (Sober Grid)
The Sober Grid app (Sober Grid)

There’s a feature to keep track of your “dry streaks” — to record the days when you don’t drink — as well as a health quiz. You can use it for any month of the year.

Try Dry isn’t the only app to help you kick the habit. Other essential Dry January downloads include I Am Sober for journaling your progress, Saying When for understanding your triggers and Sober Grid for connecting with others in the booze-free community. With so many taking on Dry January this year, you could make some friends out of it.

Embrace quit-lit

Writer Ruby Warrington is credited with coining the term “sober curious” and her book of the same name has inspired many to explore sobriety.

 (Ruby Warrington)
(Ruby Warrington)

Her latest title, The Sober Curious Reset, came out last year and offers a 100-day process of radically rethinking your drinking. Each day features observations, exercises and insights to help you “unbrainwash” yourself from the societal conditioning around alcohol.

“I have more confidence, regular periods, better relationships, am more productive, and am being more honest with myself, and don’t hate myself, I could go on,” Warrington told the Standard.

 (Millie Gooch)
(Millie Gooch)

Annie Grace’s This Naked Mind is another hero to add to your quit-lit shelf, while Millie Gooch’s empowering guide, The Sober Girl Society Handbook, also came out last year — the perfect motivation if you’re struggling to make it past the halfway point.

Meet the sober squad

Authors are not the only gurus singing the benefits of going dry. Former Made in Chelsea star Caggie Dunlop talks about her journey with sober curiosity or “intuitive drinking” on her podcast, Saturn Returns, and regularly shares updates with her 386,000 Instagram followers.

 (Dave Benett/Getty Images for Vis)
(Dave Benett/Getty Images for Vis)

She says the biggest hurdle was people asking at parties: “It got so tedious I just started answering that question with ‘because if I do I will spiral into a pit of self-loathing and depression so dark that it will take me weeks to recover’ — that usually shut them up”.

Others to follow on Instagram include yoga instructor @catmeffan for advice on reframing your socialising without drinking, sobriety coach @besoberandquit for 30-second tip videos and authors @lovesober.cic for upbeat motivation and a podcast all about quitting.

Go softly

They say one of the biggest challenges of Dry January is getting through the first week, so toast that Friday feeling with bubbles of the soft variety. Critics say Scavi & Ray’s alcohol-free sparkling wine is a convincing prosecco alternative while French Bloom’s sparkling wine offers an organic option without the hangover.

 (Seedlip)
(Seedlip)

If you’re into whisky, try Celtic Soul’s booze-free spirit, Stryyk Not Gin offers the perfect G&T replacement, while Seedlip and Punchy Drinks are renowned for their non-alcoholic cocktails. Let Days Brewing Co be your go-to for booze-free beer, or finish your week with a Little Rick Pina cocktail featuring CBD instead of rum. Sipsmith is even offering a luxury non-alcoholic cocktail ‘Swancierge’ service using its new booze-free FreeGlider spirit. One lucky fan will be delivered a complimentary mixologist-made mocktail and personalised treats to their door each day this month and you can nominate yourself or a loved one here - the perfect surprise for that BFF begrudging having a birthday during Dry January.

Unsure which zero-alcohol tipple takes your fancy? Browse the bottles in store. Mindful Drinking Festival creator Club Soda has just opened the UK’s first alcohol-free off-licence on Great Portland Street, featuring a wide selection of luxury alternatives from Oddbirds’ alcohol-free still and sparkling wines to Fluere’s zero alcohol spirits in raspberry, smoked agave and spiced cane flavours. When February comes, you won’t want to go back.

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