The Sober January Survival Guide

The Sober January Survival Guide

It’s with a heavy heart and a sullen voice that I admit to you that my “Sober January” has officially ended. It ended promptly on January 1st around 12:10 a.m. when I went to the bar at The Blue Nile in New Orleans. Reluctantly, I took a shot of Fireball that officially ended what could’ve been 31 straight days of sobriety resulting in a refreshed psyche, a little extra room in my relaxed fit pleated Dockers, and even more room in my bank account.

Unfortunately, as the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. But that doesn’t mean it has to come to an end for you.

Sober January is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s going to take endurance, willpower, and a lot of distraction to make it to the end of the month without touching a drink. It’s time to put your blinders up, hunker down, and strive to be the best version of yourself before you can finally get absolutely obliterated on February 1st (which is a Thursday, by the way).

Here’s how.

Find something to binge.

The month of January is 744 hours long. The entire series of Game of Thrones is only 63.5 hours long. Harry Potter movies will only last you 21 hours and 52 minutes. Even 121 hours of Friends will leave you with too much time on your hands.

So, uh, yeah, you’ve got some time to fill.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of things to watch to make you forget about how bad you want to get drunk. Not only did Season 4 of Black Mirror come out at the end of December, but Netflix is adding a ton of watch-able series and movies this month – including but not limited to: all three Godfathers, Caddyshack, Love Actually, Midnight in Paris, every Lethal Weapon, a bunch of Batman movies, Shawshank, Truman Show, Training Day, Wedding Crashers, and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.

Oh, and the entire series of The Sopranos is always on HBO Go. Figure it out and go all in.

Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” all weekend.

The human race’s worst enemy is the Friday afternoon “what’re we getting into tonight?” iMessage or gchat. If there was a moratorium on texting between the hours of 2 p.m. on Friday and 9 p.m. on Friday night, we’d all be healthier and skinnier people.

Imagining harnessing the feeling of sending that “I’m not going out this weekend” text that you send every Monday morning while fighting your two-day hangover. That’s the mentality you need when you wake up feeling refreshed on a Saturday morning. Most of the time, staying in on a Friday night is just a front. You’re being fake-responsible well-knowing that you’re just going to end up going even harder come Saturday. Fighting that very feeling for four straight January 2018 weekends is a kingmaker.

Once you tune out the fuzz, you can finally take the next step.

Get a group text going with others in the same boat.

Misery loves company. Fire up a group text with the two other couples you know who’ve decided to torture themselves for the 31 days this month. When you’re feeling restless, shoot off a “What’re you guys up to?” and get some motivation back in response. Just pray they don’t fall off the wagon.

Whether these people are doing Whole 30, Sober January, or are just training for a half-marathon because of some half-ass New Year’s Resolution they made, January is pretty much the trendiest month to be temporarily sober. There shouldn’t be any shortage of friends to textually sulk with – and if there is, that either means you’re 23 and reckless (congratulations) or your larger group of friends is so responsible that “Sober January” isn’t a thing (again, congratulations).

Pick up a hobby.

People will tell you that the most difficult part of Sober January is not drinking. Obviously. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. The most difficult part is fighting the boredom and figuring out how to fill your time that’s otherwise spent 1) drinking, 2) passed out or 3) doing mindless tasks while brutally hungover.

The most major issue here is that, well, it’s fucking January. There’s literally not much else to do besides drink heavy beers in dark bars trying to avoid the cold while Bob Seger and J. J. Cale play in the background. Finding a hobby in January isn’t as easy as it is in July. You can’t just drive somewhere and pick up fly fishing or head to the park for some pick-up basketball.

Which is why it’s indoor activities only. We’re talking kombucha brewing and knitting. Drawing and coffee roasting. Couponing and macrame. Yoga and blogging. Photography and redecorating. Sure, you’re going to turn into the most insufferable version of yourself, but distraction is key.

(And sometimes kombucha even has a little alcohol in it, but that can just be our little secret.)

Buy some weed.

Hey, everyone needs a head change every once in a while. It all just depends on what your definition of “sober” is.

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Will deFries (Twitter / Instagram) is a Senior Editor at Grandex and the world's foremost authority on Sunday Scaries (Twitter / Instagram).

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