The Alcohol Concern devised Dry January campaign has been running since 2012 and as every New Year rolls in, the prospect of a booze-free kick-off becomes more popular. According to a YouGov poll, 3.1 million of us are planning to forgo alcohol for the month this year, with those in full-time employment the most likely to take part. People between the ages of 35 and 54 show the biggest interest in seeing through a Dry January, and encouragingly two thirds of us have succeeded in our efforts in the past, with the biggest take up in Northern Ireland, where 10 per cent of people ditch alcohol for the first month of the year.
Alcohol Concern cite clearer skin, better sleep and weight loss as just a few of the beneficial side effects of taking part in Dry January, and if you’re wallet is feeling rather slim after 2017’s festivities, swerving the bar could help there too- apparently the average Brit spends £500,000 of booze in a lifetime. Given that alcohol is the most significant cause of death, disease and disability in the UK in the 15-49 age group, the benefits of resetting our relationship with booze can be far-reaching, especially considering that 70 per cent of us lower our alcohol intake for the six months following Dry January if we take part. The scheme is supported by Public Health England, and you can sign up to the campaign on the Alcohol Concern website and download the free Dry January app for guidance, tips, a savings and unit tracker and general help if you’re finding your dryathlon testing.
Speaking of which, the groundswell of ‘sober curious’ and ‘mindful drinking’ movements looks set to make decreasing your booze intake, or giving up altogether, all the easier, Dry Jan or not. Even if you’re aiming for a damp rather than dry start, networks such as Club Soda and High Sobriety provide a refreshing and stimulating forum of discussion and source of support while celebrating the positives of going alcohol-free, while dry nightspots, late night cafes and the innovation of zero alcohol spirits such as Seedlip , plus the demand for drinking vinegars such as Shrubs over traditional liquors looks set to make sober social life sacrifices a thing of the past.
While Alcohol Concern strongly state that Dry January is not a medical alcohol detox programme, the free resources, information and sober inspiration it provides, plus a ‘we’re in this together’ community, can help many of us to make positive changes for our mental and physical health where alcohol in concerned, and stick to our guns even when faced with social pressure. The proliferation of publications coming our way this year on the topic of giving up alcohol, from The 28 Day Alcohol-Free Challenge , to Drink Less in Seven Days and Mindful Drinking , also suggests that we could be seeing a sea change in terms of reevaluating our drinking habits. Cheers to that.