After the holidays’ festivities, which often see alcohol shared among family and friends, it can be challenging to be mindful of how much we drink. If you want to start the new year fresh and cut down on alcohol use, try the Dry January challenge.
Dry January began as a public health campaign from Alcohol Change UK to bring awareness to alcohol misuse and how it affects the individual and the community.
There Are Many Benefits From Abstaining From Alcohol
Did you know that abstaining from alcohol has many benefits from better sleep, lower cholesterol levels, and reduced risk of diabetes? It’s true! Alcohol is one of the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States, with over 95,000 recorded.
There are many reasons why one would want to participate in dry January, including:
- Questioning their relationship with alcohol
- Imbibed too much over the holidays
- Wanting to be healthier
Staying Healthy & Safe During Dry January
Staying healthy during Dry January is a great way to complete the challenge and feel better in the process. This means eating healthy and exercising for:
- Improved mood
- Increased energy
- Stronger immune system
If you or a loved one is dependent on alcohol, it’s recommended to talk to a doctor before stopping drinking suddenly. Suddenly abstaining can result in withdrawal, which comes with mild to severe symptoms. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal include:
- Shaky hands
- Difficulty sleeping
If you find yourself experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, like seizures, high blood pressure, or hallucinations, seek medical care immediately.
Tips for Staying On Track During Dry January
To start, it’s a great idea to find a substitute non-alcoholic drink that you enjoy. This could be an artisanal soda, alcohol-free cocktail, NA beer, kombucha, or shrub. With the zero-proof movement on the rise, craft alcohol-free beer is readily available and most likely at your local grocery store. However, some do contain trace amounts of alcohol, less than 0.5%. If this isn’t something you are comfortable with, look for a brew that is 0.0%.
Even better, you can create your own AF (alcohol-free) cocktail at home. Alcohol-free spirits, botanicals, and products have flooded the market and you could have a ton of fun being your own AF mixologist at home. Not sure where to start? Sans Bar STL has a collection of cocktails you can make at home –regardless of your bartending skills or lack thereof.
If you’re going to someone’s house with alcohol, bring a non-alcoholic drink with you to sip on. Remember, it’s ok to say no and if you feel you need it, get a buddy. In fact, perhaps make this a challenge between you and your friends to do this together and share the experience.
Alcohol Change UK even has a free app called Try Dry to help you understand your drinking patterns and track your time off drinking.
PreventEd Is Here To Help With Professional Guidance & Resources
PreventEd is a leader in the field of alcohol and substance use prevention programs. Since our founding in 1965, we have reached thousands of individuals through community programs, counseling referral services, and advocacy.
If you or a loved one struggles with alcohol use disorder, reach out to a PreventEd counselor today. We are ready to answer your questions and guide you to the help you need.