Ditch the Alcohol for Dry January!

Donna Marston

“Dry January” is a popular health and wellness trend where people decide to stop drinking alcoholic drinks for the entire month of January.  The fad took hold as a New Year’s resolution and is often welcomed as a way to kickstart a healthier lifestyle, have a person take a closer look at how much and how often they drink alcohol. Taking part in Dry January can offer better physical and mental health benefits for the entire month of January.

If you’re at all curious about drinking less, or simply want to experience the health benefits of staying away from alcohol, Dry January means making changes and making them the right way can help set you up for success.

"Twenty seconds of insane courage is all it takes to change your life"
Eric M.
White Horse Recovery

Tips and tricks for Dry January:

  • Ask for help. It takes courage to acknowledge that you need help, don’t let fear get in your way.
  • Eat lots of protein. Eating more protein may help curb cravings for alcohol. Eating protein at each meal can help balance your blood sugar.
  • Figure out what presses your buttons (triggers you) to make you want to drink alcohol. Take notice of your feelings when you’re angry, sad, mad and happy.
  • Find non-alcoholic beverages, like mocktails – adult beverages without alcohol.
  • Get a friend to join you, it’s so much easier to get through Dry January when you have someone doing the challenge with you so you can cheer each other on.
  • Get professional help if you think you have a problem with the amount of alcohol you drink. There are plenty of groups and organizations that provide helpful resources for you.
  • Let people know that during the month of January, you will not be drinking alcohol and ask them not to offer you any.
  • Make a promise to yourself that you will not drink during the month of January.
  • Remove or give away all of the alcohol in your home, it will make it easier for you.
  • Think about why you drink alcohol and write in a journal, also write about how you feel when you don’t drink and the health benefits you noticed in the month of January.
  • Write a list of ways to avoid drinking alcohol. For example, not going to a friend’s house on Saturday because they only drink on the weekends.
  • Write a list of activities or hobbies that you would like to learn or any hobbies that you use to do instead of drinking. Having a list is a good tool to have when you’re bored and craving alcohol.

Dry January can have a variety of positive outcomes, including sleeping better, increased energy, better concentration, weight loss and it’s a way to reset how and why you currently drink alcohol.  Dry January is also an opportunity for you to think about how much alcohol you drink daily, weekly or monthly so that you can pay attention to your drinking habits and start to make better choices.

“I find that Dry January helps me to be more mindful of my alcohol consumptions throughout the year”Dwayne Jonson

Dry January began after a woman training for her first half-marathon, Emily Robinson in the United Kingdom, decided to quit drinking for the month.  She later went to work for an alcohol awareness company that created a national campaign called Alcohol Change UK.

Millennials were the generation who participated the most in Dry January in 2021, 2022 and 2023 in the United States, according to Statista.

The Gen Z generation seems to have a non-alcohol lifestyle according to CivicScience which reports 75% of Gen Z adults aged 21-24 are at least somewhat likely to not drink alcohol in January 2024 which is the largest age group to take the Dry January challenge.

It isn’t shocking to most people, that adults 55 and older are the least likely to participate in the Dry January challenge. More data has shown that this age group is also the least likely to drink alcohol at all.

CivicScience points to social media as a possible influence in the rising popularity of Dry January, saying 73% of TikTok users are interested in giving drinking a break in January 2024, while only 37% of those who don’t use TikTok are interested in doing the same.

Hilary Sheinbaum, author of the book “The Dry Challenge,” about Dry January stated:

“On Dec. 31, 2016, moments before the ball dropped, I made a Dry January bet with a friend,” Sheinbaum said. “in the end, I ended up going the full 31 days. My friend did not.  He ended up buying me a very fancy meal, but I had the opportunity to see how alcohol was affecting my day-to-day life.  With Dry January, I had clearer skin.  I was sleeping better.  I had so much more financial savings at the end of the month. “

“Having someone doing it with you is definitely encouraging,” Sheinbaum said. “For many Americans, we start off the year with a number of resolutions, whether that’s saving money, losing weight, just being healthier in general.  Dry January checks the boxes for those goals and many more.”

Are you ready to take the Dry January challenge? It’s not just a month without a sip, it’s a fresh start for a healthier you, cheers to you taking the challenge!

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