Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Books: How To Pass "The Dry Challenge"

The Dry Challenge: How To Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month

By Hilary Sheinbaum; foreword by Lo Bosworth

Harper Design; hardcover; $19.99

Many people just successfully completed a Dry January, in which they abstained from alcohol for a full month, and it is something you can attempt any time of the year.

In the fun, informative, and interactive guidebook The Dry Challenge, journalist and lifestyle expert Hilary Sheinbaum has all the tips you'll need to make it a success. She will take you step by step through one drink-free month, from making a plan to sharing the news with friends and family, and what to do if someone tries to sabotage it, to getting back on track if you slip and happen to have a drink.

Sheinbaum covers essential topics and provides informative tips such as: "What You'll Gain When You Lose the Booze," which is a deep dive into the health benefits (such as clearer skin and better sleep) after living a month without booze; and "Sober Month Support Squad" in which she shows you how you can enlist friends for support and combat social pressures from our current drinking culture.

There also is a great three-step process to start the month right called, "Give It Away, Store It Away, Throw It Away." Sheinbaum writes, "Out of sight, out mind - right? If you're one of those people who can't stare temptation in the face (without courteously offering it a martini), make sure your living space is d-r-y. Coexisting with wine, beer, or spirits in your home can be tough. If the presence of booze isn't bothersome, then pay no mind and proceed as you normally would. You can even reward yourself with an imaginary bonus point!

"Ask a Friend or Family Member to Store Your Alcoholic Beverages for the Month. If your challenge is taking place in January, tell them you'll pick everything up on February 1 - and even share a drink with them to celebrate your success! This plan gives you an opportunity to thank them for their support (once you've completed thirty-one days of no booze). If they're an exceptionally close friend, gift them your prized stash and offer to take back what they don't want...

"Purchase a Storage Unit For Your Vino, Brews, and Hard Liquor. Perhaps your friends and family don't have room in their pantry, garage, freezer, or cellar to take on your collection of super-fine spirits and mind-blowing Bordeaux (and truthfully, maybe you don't trust them not to drink it!). Putting your booze in a secure location means it will be out of sight and out of mouth (and mind) for a month. (And you don't have to worry about your friends or your friends' roommates sneaking tips behind your back.)...

"Throw It Away. This might be the most controversial way to guarantee you won't be bolting for a bottle opener (and needless to say, a beer), at home after a tough or celebratory day. Pouring out expensive, hard-earned, and sought-after craft beers, exotic wines, and rate spirits (literally down the drain) might sound like a nightmare. This choice isn't for everyone - but, if you realize you still have a half-open bottle of cheap vodka from yesteryear, or two shots left of a bourbon that isn't your taste, maybe it's a good idea to clean house - if not for ridding your home of the subtle reminder that you can't drink, at least for the reclaimed real estate you'll gain in your kitchen (or other shelves in your abode)."

There are also plenty of recipes, including for mocktails that look like the real thing (your friends on social media won't know the difference), and interactive activities from prompts to checklists, it is the ultimate resource to start your dry month.

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