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Is it the Right Time to Go Dry?

It is the season of promising ourselves that we are going to commit to change and become our “best selves”. While New Years resolutions are a great way to evaluate our habits and how we would like to feel in our daily lives, we are all aware that change can be difficult – not only to begin but to also stick with. This is especially true for any substances that might be a daily or weekly part of your life.


Maybe you have heard of friends or family members attempting “Dry January” – where they set the goal of going for the entire month of January without drinking alcohol. For some, this might also include tobacco or cannabis products. After the holiday season where there is ample opportunity to indulge, January is often a good time for a fresh start or a pause on some behaviours that might not be supporting your overall wellness.

But what if you have never heard of Dry January, or were not ready to make such changes coming into this winter season?


The Canadian Cancer Society has planned for such cases.


Dry Feb is an opportunity to try out sobriety while raising money for the Canadian Cancer Society. You can sign up as an individual or as a team, set your fundraising goals, find community support, and connect with others who are also going sober for 28 days. The shortest month of the year and collective encouragement to abstain from alcohol makes a lot of sense if you find yourself ready to try out other behaviours or coping skills.

Most of us have experienced the negative or harmful aspects of alcohol at some point in our lives. Whether it is your own experience with substance misuse or the emotional aspect of generational alcoholism, we know that any behaviour that continues unchecked or ignored can lead to difficult life circumstances. Long term, excessive alcohol use can lead to chronic health problems such as:


Damage to organs, including:

  • liver

  • brain

  • heart

  • stomach

Increased risk of cancer, including:

  • liver

  • breast

  • throat

  • stomach

Ongoing health risk, including:

  • high blood pressure

  • reduced resistance to infection

  • sexual impotence

  • decreased appetite

  • malnourishment and vitamin deficiencies

  • disturbed sleep patterns

  • anxiety and depression, including suicidal depression

  • hormonal irregularities and infertility


All of these physical health concerns can have a considerable impact on the emotional and mental well-being of those who struggle with alcohol and those who love them.


If you or a loved one is sober curious or ready to start changing your relationship with alcohol, Dry Feb is a great way to begin your exploration of what life without alcohol could feel like. You do not have to attempt your sobriety alone and, if you choose, you can support the Canadian Cancer Society while trying out new habits and daily routines.


Do you think that Dry Feb is the right fit for you, but not sure that you can do it alone for 28 days? All of our counsellors have training in substance use counselling and would be more than glad to support you and your goals around substance use or potential sobriety.


Book a Consultation with one of our counsellors.


While going without your Happy Hour after work, or that bottomless mimosa at brunch might feel tricky, there are lots of fantastic delicious, non-alcoholic options to try out during February. Here is one “mocktail” that you can easily create at home with ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.


Honey Ginger Lemonade

  • 6 ounces minced ginger root

  • 1 cup of lemon juice

  • 3/4 cup honey

  • 5 cups water

  • 2 cups cold club soda

  • 1 bunch fresh mint

  • ice for serving (optional)


Infuse the ginger into the lemon juice in the fridge for a few hours.


Strain the ginger out of the lemon juice and add this liquid to the 5 cups of water.


Add the honey and mix until dissolved.


Roll two leaves of mint between your fingers to release the oils.


Add the mint, cold club soda, and lemon mixture to a glass. Add ice as desired and enjoy!




References


Canadian Cancer Society (2023) Dry feb. https://www.dryfeb.ca


Government of Canada (2021, November 2) Health risks of alcohol. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/alcohol/health-risks.html

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