With Christmas now in the rear view mirror and New Year’s just around the corner, January has always been a month of resolutions both kept and broken. One tradition, Dry January, returns next month celebrating ten years of sobriety in the United Kingdom - and a decade of tackling alcohol problems many Brits suffer through silently.
Starting life back in 2013, Alcohol Change introduced the concept of going the first 31 days of the year without a drop of alcohol. The charity has always been quick to point out they are not “anti-alcohol” but rather “for alcohol change”.
“We are for a future in which people drink as a conscious choice, not a default; where the issues which lead to alcohol problems – like poverty, mental health issues, homelessness – are addressed. Where those of us who drink too much, and our loved ones, have access to high-quality support whenever we need it, without shame or stigma” the charity’s website states.
“The harm doesn’t end with the individual; each of us who drinks too much is part of a family and a community who feel the effects too, whether through frequent use of emergency services, drink driving, violence or neglect.”
Those who have undertaken Dry January in previous years have shared with Alcohol Change some of the benefits they’ve felt giving up the demon drink; 70% of those polled having undertaken Dry January have benefitted from better sleep, with 86% saying they’ve saved money and 65% claiming they’ve felt health benefits since going off the sauce.
Those health benefits not only include better looking skin and a winning smile, but only one month off alcohol can see lower blood pressure, a reduction in diabetes risks, lower cholesterol and a reduction of levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood. Dry January also boasts that going through January without a drink helps set a healthy precedent for those who like a tipple all year round, according to a study by the University of Sussex.
If self-motivation is a problem, Alcohol Change have provided a number of tools for those who need a bit of coaching to get through the month; these include a daily blog on the Dry January website with testimonials from other people taking on the challenge, alongside the Try Dry app available for both Android and iPhones.