Counseling and Wellness Center invites students to go “Dry(ish)” in January

  • An umbrella labeled "Dry(ish)" with a handle curve creating the letter J for "January"

Throughout January, the Counseling and Wellness Center invites Western students to participate in Dry(ish) January. Dry(ish) January is shorthand for going substance-free during the month of January, which includes taking a break from alcohol, cannabis, and other substances in order to examine personal substance-use patterns.  

“Dry(ish) January gives people an opportunity to understand their relationship with substances which can result in new ways of socializing with others or coping with stressors,” said Gwen Koenig, Western’s Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator. 

Anyone can participate in Dry(ish) January, even those who haven’t thought about their substance use before.

“Some people use Dry(ish) January to try out sobriety and see what health benefits or lifestyle changes they may see; it gives us more information about our substance use behaviors even if we don’t stick with sobriety after January,” said Koenig.  

But, why the “ish” in Dry(ish)? It allows flexibility for those who may not want to be completely dry for a month, who start Dry(ish) January after the first of the year, or who have a change of plans one night and choose to use substances.

“If you don't participate all 31 days of January, it doesn’t mean you can’t continue. The ‘ish’ part gives us room to be imperfect,” said Koenig.  

Those who participate in Dry(ish) January are encouraged to visit the Counseling and Wellness Center’s Dry(ish) January page for more information, a calendar of journal prompts, and a downloadable guidebook with ideas for non-alcoholic drinks, resources, and activities for individuals to think about their substance use each day. The purpose of the guidebook is to maximize the benefits individuals can experience while participating, or provide a framework for those who’d like to try Dry(ish) January later in the year.   

Stopping the use of some substances (e.g., alcohol) may result in intense withdrawal symptoms. Individuals experiencing withdrawal symptoms should immediately speak with their medical provider. 

The Counseling and Wellness Center helps students discover their unique pathways to wellness through workshops, outreach programs, clinical services, consultation, and referral. Follow our @BeWellWWU Instagram account, sign up for our weekly BeWellWWU newsletter, and visit our website at for more information. For disability accommodations, please contact Western is an equal opportunity institution.   

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Thursday, January 6, 2022 - 12:07pm