Get ready for Dry January - the annual movement through which millions of people give up alcohol for the month of January. It is run by the charity Alcohol Change UK.
No alcohol from when you wake up on New Year's Day until 1 February... And that's all!
Why Dry January?
- 86% of participants saved money.
- 70% of participants had better sleep
- 66% of participants had more energy.
- 65% of participants had generally improved health.
- Alcohol is linked with more than 60 health conditions, including liver disease, high blood pressure, depression and seven types of cancer.
- Alcohol is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49 in the UK. Cutting back on alcohol reduces your risk of developing these conditions.
- The UK’s Chief Medical Officers recommend drinking no more than 14 units per week, spread over three or more days, and with at least two days off. The good news is that Dry January is the perfect training ground for helping you cut down from February onwards.
- A month alcohol-free has a lot of benefits: research has found that a month off lowers blood pressure, reduces diabetes risk, lowers cholesterol, and reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.
- Research indicates that Dry January helps people to drink more healthily year-round - a study showed that Dry January participants are still drinking less even six months later.
- Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialise. That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about our drinking, and to avoid drinking more than we really want to.
Virgin mojito anyone?
- There is a great free app to track your month off including your units, calories and money saved and give you some motivation every day.
- The Dry January blog has lots of tips and tricks for a dry month.
- Do Dry January with friends - so you can support each other, or raise money for a charity to give you motivation.
- Try some mocktails - there are some fabulous ones about.
- Use the money you save to buy yourself something nice.
- And if you slip, you can start again the next day - just move your month end.
The longer-term benefits
- Research by the University of Sussex showed that, even six months after Dry January, participants were drinking less, drinking days fell on average from 4.3 to 3.3 per week, units consumed per drinking day dropped on average from 8.6 to 7.1 and the frequency of being drunk dropped from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month on average.
- That confirms research published in 2015 which found that six months after Dry January 72% of participants are still drinking less riskily than they were before they started the challenge.
- You have a month when you realise that you don’t need alcohol. This means that for the rest of the year having a drink can be a choice – not a default.
- Your health will improve and the likelihood of a fatty liver, stroke, sexual dysfunction and cancer may be reduced.
- And no more hangovers and "what did I say/do last night?" You can choose how you behave and how you live your life.
If you find alcohol a struggle, there is a lot of help about. It's always a good idea to speak with your GP before stopping drinking, particularly if you drink a lot, as withdrawal from alcohol can be deadly if not managed appropriately. Check if you are alcohol dependent.
Other sources of help include Alcoholics Anonymous, Drink Line 0300 123 1110 or Drinkchat.