After the initial high of the first few days off the booze, when the first flush of motivation starts to wear thin, you might start to feel cravings for a drink.

This doesn't mean you've got a problem, it's just a normal reaction to change. At first we're focused on the task at hand and brimming with enthusiasm and confidence and then, at some point, it's just the normal daily routine but with something missing.

We know that most people who sign up for a Dry January soon experience the positive benefits of a month without alcohol but that doesn't mean it's easy - worth it, definitely, but not always easy.

Fear not, there are lots of things you can do to beat the cravings. Here are a few things to think about:

Cravings don't last forever

The more concentration and energy we give to them, thinking about how much we want a drink, what it's going to taste like, how terrible it is to be suffering a craving, the longer it will last.

If the desire for a drink seems to get bigger and stronger and you fear that it won't go away until you give in here's a fun fact: the average craving lasts for just six minutes. If you can find a distraction for just a few minutes, your craving will diminish. What could you do in six minutes - make a cuppa, fire off a couple of emails, write a shopping list, phone a friend? Make a list of six-minute fillers so that the next time you get a craving, you've got something else to focus on.

Cravings can be set off by cues

Cravings can be set off by cues - triggers that set you on the path to wanting a drink. It's really helpful to be able to identify what's causing your craving - is it an emotion, a thought, time of the day, seeing someone else drinking? Once you have identified what led to your craving, you can start finding ways to beat them.

When you feel an urge coming on, stop for a few moments and think about what prompted it. For some people it will be negative feelings - stress or anger or tiredness, whilst for others wanting to celebrate can trigger a craving. If you're used to having a drink when you get these feelings, it will take a while to break the habit and find a different way to respond. What other pick-me-ups do you use when you're down? How do you celebrate when there's no booze about? Having a list of other ways you could respond to these internal cues to drink will help the craving to pass more quickly.

If you're more likely to want a drink after an external cue, such as seeing others drinking, time of the day, the sound of a cork popping, you'll be better off avoiding these cues for a while.

Urge surfing

Here's another technique for getting over that craving for a drink, it's called urge surfing and it's a sort of mindfulness exercise. Think of the craving as a wave. It starts slowly then builds in intensity to a crescendo before falling away quickly. When you feel the desire for a drink, think about the feeling rather than the desire. Sit quietly and focus on how it feels, what you notice and keep bringing your awareness back to your senses - how each part of your body feels, your breathing. Notice when the feelings increase and when they subside and in a few minutes the urge should start to drain away.

Withdrawal Symptoms

It's really important to know that if you're physically dependent on alcohol, you may experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop. These are more than cravings for a drink and you might feel sick or dizzy or get cramps. These can be dangerous and if you think that this is what you are experiencing please see your GP or visit a health centre as soon as possible.

If you're unsure whether you're drinking at levels that might make you at risk of dependence you can complete an online alcohol screen at: