So, what’s it all about? Who is it for? What can you gain?
Dr Richard Piper, who helps make it happen, explains how Dry January is about benefits for YOU, like better sleep, losing weight and saving money
Dry January feels like it’s been around forever, doesn’t it? It’s as ubiquitously January as New Year’s resolutions and the post-Christmas belly. But how much do you know about it?
Dry January has gone from zero to over five million participants in four years.
This is its fifth year running, and we’re expecting the biggest year yet. Dry January now looks suspiciously like a movement – a movement of people who want to be in charge of when, what and how much they drink. Someone you know will be doing it. Probably more than one. Maybe your whole family. Maybe your whole office. Probably not the whole country but hey – we can dream.
It’s about YOU
Dry January is quite different to Sober for October (run by Macmillan Cancer Support) or the Dryathlon (run by Cancer Research UK), because it’s about YOU. It’s not about raising money for charity (though if you want to, you can do that through Dry January).
It’s not about giving something up. It’s about gaining some real benefits for yourself.
‘It’s about you sleeping better, losing weight, and having more cash in your pocket’
It’s about you sleeping better, losing weight, and having more cash in your pocket.
Did you know that we Brits spend an average of £50,000 on alcohol over the course of our lifetimes? Ditch the booze for a month and you could save more than you’d think.
‘It’s about you going to social occasions and realising that they can be enjoyed without alcohol’
Learn new skills
It’s about you going to social occasions and realising that they can be enjoyed without alcohol (and you’re likely to feel better the next day too).
‘It’s about you learning the skills you need to be able to say you don’t want a drink’
It’s about you learning the skills you need to be able to say you don’t want a drink, so that when February hits (or March or April or… you get the picture) and you don’t fancy that second glass of wine, you can turn it down easily.
We call these drink refusal skills and Dry January is your bootcamp for developing them.
‘But Richard,’ I hear you say. ‘Dry January is just a month. People will go back to the bottle in February. Why are you making such a fuss about it?’
Well, evidence shows that 72% of us continue to drink less that we were before Dry January even six months after it ends. That’s because, at its heart, Dry January is an opportunity to reset your relationship with alcohol, possibly for good.
‘There’s nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain’
So should you do Dry January? For most people, I would say a massive yes. There’s nothing to lose and an awful lot to gain.
If you’re worried you’ll find it hard, that’s fine. In fact, it means you might be one of the people who will benefit the most.
Lots of support
And crucially you’re not alone. We at Dry January offer support, in the shape of:
- daily motivational emails
- our free app which allows you to track your drinking, plus units, calories and money saved
- our online community
- plus more help if you need it.
I’m going to sum up with a quote from blogger Jenna Haldene, who reckons you should give Dry January a go.
‘I didn’t think I felt bad at the time. I assumed that it was normal to feel tired and slightly sluggish, and that it was just a side effect of getting older. It wasn’t until I gave my body a much-needed break from alcohol that I realised how much potential I had to feel amazing.’
Read Jenna’s full blog about cutting out booze.
- If you drink very heavily or experience physical withdrawal symptoms when not drinking alcohol, then Dry January is probably not for you. Instead, you should seek support from your GP or alcohol services; find out what’s available in your area. Unsure if this applies to you? Try this alcohol audit.
Richard Piper is the chief executive officer of Alcohol Concern, which is the charity that runs Dry January.