If you’re reevaluating your relationship with alcohol or simply sober curious, Dry January may just be for you
With the holiday festivities behind us, we make room for realistic resolutions and life-altering habits as we start the year with a clean slate. Introverts can now heave a sigh of relief as we cut back on group gatherings that require us to drink socially, which can inevitably end in a nasty hangover that, let’s face it, alters one’s mood for the rest of the day.
If you’re rethinking your relationship with alcohol, here’s a solution to your woes—Dry January. Challenge yourself by choosing not to drink beer, wine or spirits for a month. This public health initiative was started by Alcohol Change UK, a British charity, in 2012. Now millions take part in this health challenge every year.
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One TikTok user writes, “I’m doing [Dry January]…because I can’t remember the person I was before [drinking]…like I wonder if this is my personality.” TBH, there’s no worse feeling than being black-out drunk and struggling to remember memories from the night before. And it’s time to leave an emotionally-fueled chapter behind; no more drunk calling an ex as you utter regrettable words that can only come from your most inebriated self.
Maybe your well-meaning friends have recommended you cut back on drinking, or you’ve simply decided to stay sober for health reasons, here are expert-backed reasons why you should consider Dry January. And if you can go without drinking for a year, what’s stopping you from doing it?
@docamen Are you doing Dry January? 🍺 #fyp #foryoupage #dryjanuary ♬ Stories 2 – Danilo Stankovic
Alcohol intake has increased during the pandemic, with a survey noting that this is caused by “increased stress, increased alcohol availability and boredom.” Cutting back on alcohol has significant health benefits, with many reporting that after 30 days of being sober, they’ve slept better, had more energy and lost weight.
Dr. Rotonya Carr, head of gastroenterology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, shares with PBS the expert-backed benefits of Dry January. He reveals, “You know, the first thing that people will say is that they just feel better. It's just a general feeling and there's no other description besides that. And we as physicians, as other medical providers, also notice that there are improvements in cholesterol level and sugar levels, blood pressure levels. As a liver doctor myself, even those liver blood tests will improve in just a month of sobriety from alcohol.”
And according to Dr. Carr, the health benefits of skipping alcohol for 31 days can last even longer. He notes, “For people who participate in Dry January…when we ask them six months out, a year out, they are still having health benefits. Most people will report that they have continued to either not drink or reduce their alcohol consumption even after months out.”
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If you’re reevaluating your relationship with alcohol or simply sober curious, it helps having a support group to keep you accountable with your journey. You can also download the app called Try Dry to help you take control of your drinking. Co-created with drinkers and based on behavioral science and a culture of experimentation, it has features like “planned drinking,” custom goals and special missions to help you cut back on alcohol or try being sober.
Whether it’s Dry January or Sober October, you can reevaluate your relationship with alcohol any time of the year. A month of sobriety may not seem life-altering, but it can help you form habits, like turning down alcohol in social settings, that can stick with you for the rest of the year.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver