The New Year is often a time for making new resolutions, and for many, the first challenge of 2023 is to abstain from drinking for a month. The Guardian reports that around 3.1million Brits will face a dry January this year, while a January 2022 BVA survey reports that 35% of French are likely to take part in this challenge, which started in the UK in 2013.
For some, it’s hard to imagine stopping drinking for any length of time. When this happens, people can be affected by a phenomenon called FOMA, or the fear of missing alcohol.
What is FOMA?
Someone who decides to limit their alcohol consumption may be afraid of missing out on events, feeling bored or left out at parties, or not getting going at certain events or moments where alcohol is often a factor. This fear is similar to FOMO, the fear of missing out, a social phobia that can cause some people to spend far too much time online for fear of missing out on an event, news, trend, or outing with friends.
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How to overcome the fear of missing alcohol
Alcohol is a substance often associated with partying, celebration, and shaking off inhibitions, partly because of our own beliefs.
“For example, if you’ve been teaching your brain since you were 15 that alcohol is a requirement for being comfortable in social situations, removing that substance will freak you out,” explains The Guardian.
But it can also help to remember that those drunk nights didn’t always equate to good times.
In fact, it can be useful to question our alcohol consumption. Is it important in our social relationships? Does a party or a night out get boring if it’s not about drinking? Is a drink the only way to relax? A month-long alcohol break can help you find answers to these questions, either on your own or with the help of a professional.
Quitting alcohol, even for a month, can be difficult. At times like these, it’s wise to connect with others rather than go it alone. Try to find a buddy to join you in the Dry January challenge.
Social media fans can share their progress online, and digital users can try downloading the Dry January (Try Dry), I Am Sober, or EasyQuit apps.