Now that Dry January is over, many people are sober-curious and wondering what to do after abstaining from alcohol last month. As more women become mindful drinkers, they’re starting to discover the “damp lifestyle.” Here’s what it’s all about and why it may work better than a sober month.
A ‘Damp Lifestyle’ Accounts For Moderation
In January 2022, TikToker Hana Danly decided to be a mindful drinker and coined the term “damp lifestyle.” It’s a moderate drinking technique that Danly opted for instead of going dry last January.
In the now viral video, the TikToker shared, “We talk about being sober. We talk about being drunk. But how do we successfully follow a ‘damp lifestyle?’”
For Danly, going damp has offered a drinking option that many people don’t discuss: moderation. In another video, Danly shared how this option is often overlooked in a society that promotes drinking alcohol.
“The damp lifestyle is internalizing the fact that drinking culture and your relationship with alcohol does not have to be black and white, all or nothing.”
Since going damp is a lifestyle choice and not just a 31-day challenge, it may work better for people who aren’t addicted to alcohol and simply want to reduce their intake.
OBGYN Karina Celaya recently told InStyle, “Going damp may be helpful for those who want to find a middle ground, one that would allow for consumption of alcohol in moderation.”
According to a study published in Health Psychology, moderation can be a more effective way to decrease drinking than simply going cold turkey. In fact, one-third of people who try to do Dry January end up drinking at some point during the month.
It’s a lifestyle choice that more and more women are making. After a spike in alcohol use during COVID-19 lockdowns, many are coming to terms with their relationship with alcohol. Lauren Manaker, a 43-year-old registered dietician-nutritionist, is just one woman who escalated her alcohol intake during COVID-19.
Manker told InStyle, “I was getting in the habit of pouring a glass of wine every day around 5 p.m., and if I felt stressed, I would lean on wine to help myself unwind. Getting to the point where you need a drink is not OK,” she admitted. “I wanted to get away from that feeling.”
Even so, the dietician-nutritionist enjoys social drinking and “having a glass of wine with friends at happy hour or enjoying a spicy margarita on taco Tuesday.”
Once she opted for the “damp lifestyle,” Manaker recognized that she had been drinking out of habit and became more mindful about her alcohol consumption.
While Manaker wanted to rid herself of needing a drink, Danly started drinking less as a way to improve her mental health.
In the past year, the TikToker has had some major mental and physical health gains since living the “damp lifestyle.” Some of the domino effects she says she has experienced include better mental health, more energy, sleeping more, better skin, and being happier.
Although going damp has worked for her, Danly is quick to point out that this lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Some people do need to be sober due to alcoholism or alcohol use disorder. In fact, a recent study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism shows that many Americans drink an unhealthy amount of alcohol.
For those who aren’t sober or working towards sobriety, the “damp lifestyle” is a great way to practice mindful living. Here are a few ways you can go damp this year.
Use Your Motivating Factor
Danly encourages everyone to know their motivating factor and focus on their why. For the TikToker, her why includes mental health struggles. She first went damp after realizing that alcohol was the “common denominator” when she had mental health challenges.
Start With One Or Two Small Goals
The TikToker also says that people should start with just a couple of small goals. For Danly, drinking water in between drinks, having only one alcoholic drink at a restaurant, and going to an event sober were small ways she began living the “damp lifestyle.”
Stick To Alcohol-Free Days And Times
Once you’re able to sustain your small goals, you can move on to bigger goals such as not drinking during the week, only drinking socially, and abstaining from hard liquor.
Compassion Is Key
With any change, offering yourself grace and compassion is necessary. Dr. Jill Carnahan, M.D. told InStyle, “Don’t be too hard on yourself if you fail to keep your commitment. If you are creating a new habit, it may take an average of many tries to successfully ingrain the new habit into your subconscious.”
If you’re sober-curious, trying out the “damp lifestyle” may just be the key to living more mindfully this year.