Dry January: The Benefits of an Alcohol-Free Month

Editor’s note: Dry January is not a substitute for treatment for substance use disorder. Help is available for you or a loved one.

This year alcohol use increased sharply. Adults reported drinking more days of the month and more each time. If you’re interested in cutting down, Dry January might be just the challenge you need.

Dry January encourages people to take a month-long break from alcohol. Abstaining from alcohol for the month of January is meant to give your body a break after the excess of the holiday season. It is also a great way to experience the benefits of an alcohol-free lifestyle, without committing yourself to a lofty goal that feels impossible to keep. If you find yourself sober curious (yes, that is apparently the name for it) here are a few reasons you might just want to give Dry January a try.

The Benefits

You Might Like The Way You Feel

There are plenty of health benefits related to abstaining from alcohol. Studies show that after just one dry month, young adults reported better sleep, weight loss and increased energy. Some reported improved skin, mental clarity, and reduced joint pain. And of course, there is the obvious benefit of giving your liver a much-needed break. Especially if it was working overtime during the holiday season.

You Will Re-Assess Your Relationship With Alcohol

Taking a break from alcohol gives you a chance to step back and re-evaluate your consumption habits. You may find that alcohol is being used as a needless filler, or a crutch that you are ready to part with. It will force you to analyze your relationship with alcohol and allow you to be more mindful about your consumption habits when/if you re-introduce it back in to your life.

You Will Save Money

If the previous reasons haven’t caught your attention yet, how does a vacation sound? Have you ever considered how much your weekly alcohol consumption is costing you? Depending on where you live, just two drinks at your local hangout can cost $20 or more. Now consider how many times you go out in a month, or how many bottles of wine you are buying for home. That money can go a long way in your savings account and could help to make that next vacation a reality!

Getting Started

Find a Replacement

Giving up something without finding a replacement for it could leave you feeling like something is missing. Instead, replace your evening glass of wine with an activity. Make yourself some herbal tea and sit down with a good book. Or ask your friends to meet you for a walk in a park rather than at the bar. If you need suggestions for walking trails near you, we have a few to get you started.

Don’t Give Up Your Social Life

As more people experiment with sober-living, more businesses are offering ways for you keep your social life while ditching the alcohol. In addition to the increase in alcohol-free beer options, many bars and restaurants are recognizing the trend toward health and wellness and are expanding their mocktail menus to include fresh and exciting ingredients.  Try mocktails for your next virtual happy hour.

Jessica Fenner



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