If you woke up after ringing in the New Year and decided your resolution is to drink less, you’re far from alone. You also might be interested in taking on Dry January.
This public health initiative encourages participants to abstain from alcohol during the month of January. It can be a big change, but its impact could inspire you to make Dry January your annual resolution.
According to Morning Consult, a global intelligence company, millions around the world participate in Dry January each year. Their poll found almost one-in-five adults in the United States planned to participate in 2022, and 77% of Dry January participants from 2021 chose to repeat the challenge.
If you decide to join this year, you’ll be in good company. So what makes Dry January a challenge worth accepting?
What is the Point of Dry January?
According to Dr. Leanne Skehan, a clinical faculty member from the public health degree programs at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), the Dry January initiative helps you realize the effect alcohol may be having on your health and encourages you to reconsider your habits.
Many public health professionals work to improve community health by addressing prevalent health concerns, promoting healthy behaviors and providing health education. Skehan said Dry January began in 2012 as a public health initiative from a British charity called Alcohol Change, UK.
“Dry January is a great time for self-reflection around alcohol and can help people reveal potential problems with ‘needing’ alcohol,” she said. But she noted the challenge is not for those with an alcohol use disorder*.
“Dry January is not about detoxing after the holidays, nor is it meant to help people with dependency issues,” said Skehan. Instead, she said the campaign is directed toward more moderate drinkers, who might drink a bit too much or too often.
According to the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP), the Dry January campaign aims to:
- Encourage you to consider your alcohol consumption
- Inspire changes in your future behavior
- Start new conversations about alcohol
And the initiative is a proven success. “Research has shown that Dry January is an effective behavior change campaign,” Skehan said. She noted 72% of participants maintained lower levels of drinking six months after Dry January, according to the BJGP’s study.
Living healthier, losing weight and meeting financial goals are among the most common New Year’s resolutions, according to a 2021 survey on Statista. If Dry January’s your resolution, you could make headway in all of these areas at the same time.
“People who took a 30-day break from their regular consumption of alcohol were found to sleep better, they had more energy, lost weight and saved money,” said Skehan. Still, those are only some of the positive effects this challenge can manifest.
What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking for a Month?
Drinking too much can put your body at risk.
“Alcohol is correlated with over 60 health conditions, including cancer, diabetes, depression and hypertension,” said Skehan. But changing your behavior can improve your well-being.
“Research shows that cutting out alcohol for a month can make a positive …….