There’s something about the start of a new year that triggers us to take stock of how our habits impact our wellbeing. This January, many of us find ourselves still facing higher than usual anxiety levels. Besides the uncertain state of the world, the added pressure of keeping up with all-too-often unattainable New Year's resolutions can also take its toll on our mental health. And when mental health suffers, our wellbeing suffers too.
While we’re ardent advocates of finding ways to be healthier, happier versions of ourselves, we’ve found that resolutions focused less on starting something new and more on kicking unhealthy habits, are useful.
To learn more about letting go of harmful habits, and the benefits of a sober-curious lifestyle, we caught up with Kayla Lyons – founder of The Dry Club and the 1,000 Hours Dry challenge.
1,000 Hours Dry: Choosing Sobriety Over Hangxiety
Last year, Kayla Lyons found herself reevaluating the sobriety program she’s been following for a few years. The result of rethinking her recovery program was starting up a “sober-curios,” inclusive, online community championing an alcohol-free lifestyle called The Dry Club.
What Is The Dry Club?
The Dry Club is an online educational platform and community that promotes alcohol-free living and the sober-curious movement. “We believe in positive reinforcement and radical compassion for our members and are an inclusive community without rigid rules or regulations surrounding sobriety,” Kayla explains.
The Dry Club’s central platform is Instagram, where daily tasks, statistics, and inspirational messages are posted. The Dry Club community also operates on the app Reframe, to help people quit or reduce alcohol intake and a private Facebook group where members can connect.
What Does “Sober-Curious” Mean?
Sober-curious doesn’t necessarily mean a commitment to an alcohol-free lifestyle altogether, only practicing more mindful drinking habits. “A good definition of being sober-curious,” says Kayla, “is really reevaluating your relationship with alcohol.”
She goes on to explain that some people participate in dry challenges for a bit of “sober tourism,” while others, like her, who are in recovery or active addiction, may spend months or even years trying out sobriety in chunks. “Sober curiosity is a crucial part of our community, and most people who are sober now likely went through a period of sober curiosity before committing to abstinence,” she adds.
How Does The 1,000 Hours Dry Challenge Work?
1,000 Hours Dry is an alcohol-free challenge that lasts 42 days. Like Dry January, you commit to going alcohol-free for a while – in this challenge it’s 1,000 hours. The Dry Club encourages people to start whenever they are ready and hold “rounds” multiple times a year through their Instagram account for people who feel the need for more support and accountability.
The challenge is outlined to guide participants through daily tasks and recommendations. On the app, there’s also an accountability guide that takes participants through the 42 days, helping them build skills based on cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and behavioral science.
“What separates us from other communities and challenges is that we encourage people to keep going even if they slip up. We believe that slipping up is more like falling forward,” Kayla mentions, “you learn from the experience and keep going.”
How Can Taking Part In this Challenge Help People?
Kayla found that reevaluating your relationship with alcohol has numerous mental health and physical benefits. “Anyone, whether you’re a moderate or heavy drinker, can benefit from taking a 42-day break,” she concluded. Here are some of the benefits of living alcohol-free for 42 days Kayla highlighted:
- Alcohol can suppress REM sleep – after only one week of going alcohol-free, sleep quality could already start improving. You’re also likely to start noticing your complexion starts looking healthier.
- Excessive drinking irritates the digestive system, causing the stomach to increase acid production – by week two, you’ll experience less alcohol-related acid reflux.
- Drinking too much alcohol can lead to increased blood pressure. Around the three-week mark of the challenge, your blood pressure will start to lower, reducing the risk of stroke and heart problems. Your kidney function is likely also improving at this point.
- At around six weeks, many people experience significantly more mental clarity (no more brain fog!) and less fatigue.
- People battling anxiety often find a hangover can incite intense bouts of anxious feelings or so-called “hangxiety.” One of the best parts of going alcohol-free? No more hangxiety.
Want to learn more about the health benefits of living sober curios? Watch Kayla in our recent Instagram video or join her online community @1000hoursdry. She also hosts a weekly podcast called The Dry Life.
1,000 Hours Dry: A Sober, Self-Care Challenge
1,000 Hours Dry is a lifestyle challenge aimed at helping people build healthier drinking habits. To find out more, we spoke to the founder of The Dry Club, Kayla Lyons, who’s also leading this sober-curious movement.
Rather than trying to reinvent ourselves through a list of New Year’s resolutions, we’re focusing on sticking to simple, natural solutions that improve our overall wellness.
We’re starting this year by saying no to the things holding us back from living our healthiest, happiest life.
Kayla Lyons, founder of the online community The Dry Cub, shares a little more about saying no to “hangxiety” and yes to sober self-care.
Did you know?
Despite the relaxed feeling a nightcap can cue, studies show alcohol can interfere with chemicals in the brain that can trigger anxiety and affect REM sleep.