What Is Dry(ish) January?
It's Dry(ish) January! Are you participating? “Dry what?” you ask? Dry January is shorthand for going substance-free during the month of January. It’s a chance to better understand your relationship with alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs, and how alcohol might affect your daily life.
Why the “(ish)” in Dry(ish) January?
First off, we are all imperfect humans, and we can only try our best. This challenge is certainly not about perfection, because changing or breaking habits can be especially difficult. If you’re doing the challenge but you have a drink or two during the month, THAT’S OKAY! We in no way want to discourage or discredit anyone who is putting in the effort to take this month off from substances seriously. You can start again the next day.
Also, we recognize that classes don’t resume until the 7th of January, which means some students might not know about this campaign before returning to class. Even if you drank alcohol before the 7th, YOU CAN STILL PARTICIPATE!
Lastly, we recognize that there could be a special occasion where you might want to drink or use cannabis or other drugs. Having a planned night or two during the month is also not the end of the world. Dry(ish) January is about removing substances for a brief period so you can examine the parts of your life (social, health, financial, etc.) it may be affecting, so you can plan to create healthier changes if you choose. You can still reap all the benefits of participating, even if there is a change of plans one night. Hence, the (ish).
Slips ups are okay, they happen to the best of us. If you started late, or skipped a few days somewhere in the middle due to an event, your participation is not negated in any way. This Dry(ish) January campaign is about revisiting your relationship with alcohol, cannabis, and other drugs to make sure it is serving you, and not the other way around.
31 Days of Dry(ish) January
Jan 1: Today, write down your personal reasons for participating in the challenge and what YOU want to accomplish - nobody else should tell you why abstaining from substances for a month is important.
Jan 2: What goals do you hope to accomplish by participating in a substance-free month? Are there other resolutions you have that aren’t substance related, but might be indirectly impacted by a break from drinking or using? Really consider what a break might give you.
Jan 3: Decide how you will communicate your participation to friends and family. Are there folks who might be more resistant, and how can you signify your dedication to the challenge? Consider downloading a “Dry January” app tracker/support.
Jan 4: Happy Saturday! Why not get outside today and exercise - hike/bike/walk, etc. Let out some newly present energy! If you have friends with drinking plans tonight, offer to be the designated driver. Being a DD is an easy and responsible way to stay off the booze and still socialize.
Jan 5: Go on an afternoon coffee/tea/etc. date with a friend. Find time to socialize in situations where alcohol/cannabis/etc. isn’t typically present, and this should help you better manage the times where it is present.
Jan 6: It’s your last day of winter break. Be especially present today and reflect on what you hope to gain from your Dry(ish) month.
Jan 7: Welcome back, Western students! Got a bad case of the Tuesday grumps? Don’t worry, it will pass. Irritability is a very common experience when we take away substances our bodies became familiar with. Just try to make it through today. Also, check out our Sobriety Strength support group tonight. It’s a drop in, confidential space for students to discuss any concerns they have with substances- past or present. Anyone participating, or considering participating in Dry(ish) January is welcome! Details: Humanities 108, 4:45-5:45pm.
Jan 8: Happy Wellness Wednesday! Stop by the Viking Union today for a nice warm cup of hot chocolate provided by ADCAS! We will be tabling today from 11am-12:30pm, and we'll have hot chocolate and hot apple cider, Dry(ish) January buttons, and words of encouragement!
Jan 9: If today is the first you’ve heard about the Dry(ish) January challenge, you can still jump on board! This isn’t about demanding 31 complete days substance free- everyone has their own lifestyle and abilities and comfort with this challenge, so remember to do what works best for you and your body.
Jan 10: It’s Friday! Make sure you plan out your weekend if you plan to stay Dry(ish). Turning down a drink or other substance can sometimes be tricky and feel isolating. But remember what you can gain from sticking to your goals.
Jan 11: Take the weekend to reflect on any noticeable changes so far. Sleep, study habits, relationships, etc. can all be impacted by frequent or heavy substance use, and taking a break is a great way to hit the reset button.
Jan 12: For today, practice radical self-love and self-acceptance. It’s perfectly okay if this has been difficult. Remember that a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.
Jan 13: Today is a great day to practice mindfulness. Studies show that when we take a break from regular substance use, we can become more focused and clear headed. As you go through your day today, be extra aware of yourself, your overall well-being, and your surroundings. Try to practice mindfulness for the rest of this challenge and see what you discover about yourself.
Jan 14: It’s been two weeks since we launched Dry(ish) January, and it's a great time to evaluate what has or hasn’t been effective so far. Keep what’s working and ditch the rest. Remember, you don’t HAVE to be Dry the entire month to gain something from this. Do what works for you and your body. Also, check out our Sobriety Strength support group tonight. It’s a drop in, confidential space for students to discuss any concerns they have with substances- past or present. Anyone participating, or considering participating in Dry(ish) January is welcome! Details: Humanities 108, 4:45-5:45pm.
Jan 15: It’s Wellness Wednesday! Join Chris, staff psychologist, and ADCAS staff in a discussion on substance use at WWU. Learn how your mental health, academics, and other key areas of your life may be impacted from heavy or frequent use. Details: Miller Hall Collaborative Space, 3-4pm. Snacks and refreshments provided! Prior to the Wellness Wednesday workshop, stop by the Viking Union between 1:30 and 3 pm for a nice warm cup of hot chocolate or hot apple cider provided by ADCAS peer health educators.
Jan 16: Hopefully this Thursday will be an easy, relaxing day for homework or binge-watching your favorite TV show. Remember to be patient with yourself today. Rewriting habits can be especially hard, because the use of any psychoactive substance (YES this includes alcohol) hijacks our brains reward/pleasure pathways, so our brains have a hard time telling us not to drink or use, when it has learned that drinking or using is a pleasurable means for survival. Also, show your support and route for WWU Men’s Basketball tonight vs. Concordia at 7pm in Carver gym!
Jan 17: Happy Friday! You have a long weekend ahead of you, so make your plans and stay safe.
Jan 18: If you have free time today between 12-4pm, stop by the Western Art Gallery today to view the new exhibit- “Road to Damascus” by Knowledge Bennett. The collection will be on display from January 15th through May 2nd, and is sure to be a conversation starter.
Jan 19: January can be tough for many, since we lack sunshine and warmth here in the PNW. This coming week there will be many events for Beat the Blues! Remember you are not alone, and to always reach out for support whenever you need it.
Jan 20: Be proud of your progress and efforts today, large or small, and enjoy your Monday off from classes. “Be a bush if you can't be a tree. If you can't be a highway, just be a trail. If you can't be a sun, be a star. For it isn't by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.” -Martin Luther King Jr., from speech before a group of students at Barratt Junior High School in Philadelphia, October 26, 1967.
Jan 21: It's Day 21 of Dry(ish) January! They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. How are you feeling today? Are you noticing a difference in how you view alcohol/cannabis/etc.? Remember that this challenge is not an excuse to detox our bodies and binge for the rest of the year. It's an opportunity to take a break from a habit, evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and make the changes necessary to be the healthiest and happiest versions of ourselves. Write down your thoughts today, and take pride in the journey so far. For a fun afternoon activity, join ADCAS as we host an afternoon of board games and hot chocolate in the Miller Hall Collab Space from 2 to 4:30 pm. Also, check out our Sobriety Strength support group tonight. It’s a drop in, confidential space for students to discuss any concerns they have with substances- past or present. We meet in Humanities 108, 4:45-5:45pm.
Jan 22: It’s another Wellness Wednesday! So stop by the Miller Collaborative space from 3 to 4pm to learn how you can engage in self-care, manage stress, and improve your well-being.
Jan 23: Beat the Blues today! Join the Counseling Center, the Student Health Center, and Prevention and Wellness Services staff for an afternoon of self-care, reflection, and fun. Viking Union Multipurpose Room, 10am-2pm. Also, show your support and route for WWU Women’s Basketball tonight vs. Alaska Anchorage at 7pm in Carver gym!
Jan 24: Studies show that refraining from regular alcohol use can strengthen our immune system, and taking a break from smoking any substance is a great boost to your lung health. How has your overall health been affected by Dry(ish) January?
Jan 25: If you haven’t gone 100% Dry this month, what moderation strategies have you used to keep yourself safe? Heavy consumption can be dangerous on many levels, including the unpredictability of the night. Know that your night will end safely, and remember to use in moderation.
Jan 26: Take this chilly Sunday to practice self-care, and self-soothing. If using substances to cope with internal struggles has been a go-to of yours, reflect on the other practices you’ve hopefully picked up this month which have been successful.
Jan 27: You are so close to reaching the end of January. Great job! If you're just hearing about the challenge, you can still jump on board for the remaining days of the month! Or, you can start your own Dry(ish) February (or March or April ...) challenge using the tips listed at pws.wwu.edu/dryish.
Jan 28: Have you noticed how your spending habits have changed during this challenge? Did you save money, invest in yourself, etc.? Make a note of positive changes, and see how you can use this substance-free challenge to inspire more positive changes throughout 2020. Also, check out our Sobriety Strength support group tonight. It’s a drop in, confidential space for students to discuss any concerns they have with substances- past or present. Details: Humanities 108, 4:45-5:45pm.
Jan 29: Who has been your biggest ally for Dry(ish) January? Reach out to that person today to say thank you. If this has been a bit of a solo month, reflect on your efforts with gratitude, and thank yourself for being patient, determined, and courageous. Also, stop by the Viking Union today from 11am-1pm for a hot chocolate or hot apple cider. We would love to hear about your journey with Dry(ish). And of course please join in for another Wellness Wednesday in the Miller Hall Collaborative space from 3-4pm. Snacks and refreshments provided.
Jan 30: It’s almost your last night of the Dry(ish) January! What has been your favorite memory of this month? Join Psychology professor Josh Kaplan as he presents on cannabis use and the body. His expertise and energy are not to be missed, and this is a great opportunity to learn more about cannabis from an expert. 4-5pm in Academic West 210.
Jan 31: It's the last day of Dry(ish) January - WAY TO GO! Reflect on your accomplishment today. What have you learned or gained from this experience? How do you think your relationship with alcohol or other substances might be different from here on out? Finishing the challenge presents the opportunity to continue the healthy habits you've established, rather than heavy drinking in response to being done. Moderation is always the safest bet. Be proud of yourself. You set a goal and you accomplished it!