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Dry January: Reevaluating your relationship with alcohol

Local businesses adapt to Dry January
Local businesses adapt to Dry January 01:59

SACRAMENTO — Dry January.

It's a time when millions of Americans give up alcohol during a month-long sobriety challenge. In kicking off 2023, maybe you or the people around you have decided to give it a try, experimenting with mocktails or abstaining from the post-work glass of wine.

Local businesses are adapting to the challenge and a local substance abuse counselor said it can be a time to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol.

Exchanging the cocktails for mocktails, Dry January challenges folks to start off the new year with 31 days of sobriety. It's a chance to begin 2023 on a healthier note.

The Teetotalist is a zero-proof bar that just opened its doors in Sacramento and the owners have seen business pick up as people experiment with a sober lifestyle.

"We've gotten a lot of people in who want to try something new for Dry January," said co-owner Amanda Brincat. "They're used to having just a soda water and lime out at the bar, or staying home, or having kombucha. So this really gave them the opportunity to try something different, something they hadn't had before."

Restaurant bars like The 7th Street Standard say as more spirit replacements have hit the market, they've been able to offer more options for folks who are looking for an alternative.

Meanwhile, Tommie Trevino, a UC Davis substance abuse counselor, said that rather than a fun challenge, the month can be a time for folks to reevaluate their relationship with alcohol. He knows firsthand what it's like to see life unravel due to addiction and the stigmas that come with it.

"It's embarrassing," Trevino said. "It's shameful and a lot of times we go into denial. We don't want to see ourselves struggling with alcohol."

He said it's important to check in with how you're feeling at the end of the month.

"And then at the end of the 30 days, if you can make it without shaking or having problems, behavior and health problems like anger and depression, hey, then maybe it's OK," he said.

But if that's not the case, it may be time for a wake-up call and a time to seek professional help.

"Alcoholism and addiction is a disease and it's a lifelong disease," Trevino said. "You have to keep it under control like you would any other disease."

With how normalized alcohol is in everyday life, Trevino said Dry January can help discover the problem and address it before it's too late. 

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