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Why Try Dry January?

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Are you wavering on whether or not to do Dry January this year? There are so many reasons to give it a try. Here are just a few.

Try Dry January because it starts the year with a positive challenge

If you browse the internet or walk through a grocery store at this time of year, you’re sure to be encouraged to be healthier in the new year, to set a resolution. Dry January can help with that impulse by offering:

  • An achievable, specific resolutionNew Year’s resolutions are hard to follow through on, and part of that difficulty is that they are often overly general or very long-term. Dry January is a great way to set a clear and specific goal for a defined period of time (one month). This creates a realistic resolution that can start your year off with a feeling of accomplishment.
  • A goal you share with othersCommunity, fellowship, accountability … there are a lot of reasons that taking part in a shared challenge or movement can be easier and more fun than it might be to make the same change all by yourself. Dry January is increasingly popular, and Dry January groups are popping up online and in-person to support one another through the month. Some people even set up fundraising pages and do Dry January for charity. In Workit Health’s Dry January Challenge, we’ve created a Facebook group just for people doing Dry January.
  • A way to reset your habits after holiday revelry—Not everyone overindulges over the holidays, but a whole lot of folks do. If you’re feeling the aftereffects of two months of parties and celebrations, Dry January can be a perfect chance to reset your ‘normal’ and get back into a healthier groove.
  • An opportunity to support a loved one—If a friend, coworker, family member, or significant other is giving up alcohol, Dry January can be a way to show them support. It lets you empathize and allows you to hold one another accountable.

Try Dry January to get the benefits of skipping alcohol for a month

It may sound like a small change to make, but if you drink alcohol on a regular basis (even if you’re not going overboard), cutting it out can have real, tangible benefits. Here are a few:

  • Financial—Alcohol is expensive, whether you’re buying it at the grocery store, liquor store, or bar. The NIAAA Rethinking Drinking site has a calculator to help you add up how much you spend on alcohol. There are also a lot of costs you may not immediately associate with alcohol, like cabs or rideshares when you’ve been out drinking or impulsive purchases made while under the influence. For all of these reasons, a month without alcohol can result in a pretty noticeable reduction in spending.
  • Health—I grew up in the “Just say no” era and thought that the warnings about health risks from alcohol were overblown. It turns out, they really weren’t, and abstaining from alcohol—even short-term—can have major health benefits. One study found benefits to cardiovascular health, liver function, and cancer-risk factors after regular drinkers spent a month abstaining. Another that looked at people with alcohol dependence discovered that brain volume begins recovering after a short period of not drinking. It’s pretty clear that cutting out alcohol for a month is good for your health.(One caveat: if you drink alcohol daily and heavily, quitting suddenly can lead to withdrawal that may be dangerous. Consider looping in your doctor before quitting, in this case.)
  • General well-being—Skipping alcohol can have a positive impact on how much sleep you’re getting and how restful it is, and on how much energy you have through the day. It can help with how your skin looks and feels, and can improve your overall mood. Spending the month of January just feeling better is reason enough to give Dry January a try.

Try Dry January to gain clarity about your drinking

Not everyone who does Dry January or thinks about it is concerned about their drinking. As I mentioned above, there are tons of other reasons. But if you do have any concerns about your drinking, trying Dry January can help you get a clearer understanding of your relationship with alcohol.

  • If it’s easy for you to cut out alcohol—Plenty of people drink moderately or even drink in unhealthy ways without having alcohol use disorder (or alcoholism, or a drinking problem, or whatever term you’re familiar with). If you or a loved one has been concerned about how you drink, you might still find it relatively easy to complete Dry January without spending much time thinking about alcohol. If this is the case, it’s a perfect chance to determine what kind of relationship you would like to have with alcohol going forward, and to change your habits.
  • If it’s more difficult for you not to drink—Whether you start off confidently or with trepidation, you may learn that Dry January is difficult for you. Alcohol can fill a lot of roles in a person’s life, and you may find it uncomfortable to deal with the gaps. Or you may discover that alcohol dominates your thoughts even when you’re not drinking it. If Dry January reveals that you have trouble not drinking, it might be the nudge you need to seek help.

No matter what your reason is for considering Dry January, I hope you’ll give it a shot.

This year Workit Health is holding a Dry January Challenge, including daily messages containing encouragement and coping tools, and an exclusive Facebook community. Click here to sign up.

Alaine Sepulveda is a content strategist in recovery from alcohol. She believes that engaging people and sharing stories with them allows us to spread knowledge, and to help others in the path to recovery. She holds an MA in Communication Studies from New Mexico State University.

Any general advice posted on our blog, website, or app is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace or substitute for any medical or other advice. Workit Health, Inc. and its affiliated professional entities make no representations or warranties and expressly disclaim any and all liability concerning any treatment, action by, or effect on any person following the general information offered or provided within or through the blog, website, or app. If you have specific concerns or a situation arises in which you require medical advice, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified medical services provider.

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