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Give Dry January a try
Jan. 6, 2023—Even a monthlong break from alcohol can have short- and long-term benefits. That's why some people are embracing the Dry January challenge. It's a pledge to give up alcohol for one month.
Why bother? According to the American Psychological Association and other experts, it might help you:
- Save money.
- Feel better (think zero hangovers).
- Sleep better and have more energy.
- Lose weight.
- Improve your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels.
- Ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- See what it's like to be alcohol-free.
Here’s to a successful dry run!
If you decide to try Dry January, these tips may help you through the month—and maybe beyond:
Get your crew on board. Tell your family and friends you're doing Dry January and could use their support.
Buddy up. Ask someone to be your Dry January partner, and cheer each other on. There's strength in numbers. If you can't find someone in your circle to join you, connect with others who are doing the challenge online.
Plan distractions. Look for other things to do with your time that don't involve alcohol. Maybe that's exercising, learning to play an instrument or exploring a new hobby.
Make yours a mocktail. If you're missing your favorite drink, explore recipes for nonalcoholic alternatives online.
Take stock. Pay attention to how you feel without alcohol in your life. Did something about the experiment surprise you? What changes might you want to make moving forward?
Are you drinking too much?
In general, experts say men should have no more than two drinks a day, and women no more than one. But what counts as a drink? Take this quick quiz to find out.
If you're a heavy drinker, quitting cold turkey may not be the best or safest choice. If you need help quitting, tell your doctor. Treatments such as medicines and talk therapy can help.
You can also call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for information about treatment services. The 24-hour Helpline is 800.662.HELP (800.662.4357).
- Alcohol Change UK. "Dry January." https://alcoholchange.org.uk/help-and-support/managing-your-drinking/dry-january.
- Alcohol Change UK. "Dry January: It's not about going without…" https://alcoholchange.org.uk/blog/2022/dry-january-its-not-about-going-without.
- Alcohol Change UK. "Why do Dry January?" https://alcoholchange.org.uk/help-and-support/managing-your-drinking/dry-january/why-do-dry-january-1/why-do-dry-january.
- American Psychological Association. "Speaking of Psychology: Sober Curious." https://www.apa.org/news/podcasts/speaking-of-psychology/sober-curious.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "Treatment for Alcohol Problems: Finding and Getting Help." https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/treatment-alcohol-problems-finding-and-getting-help.
- PubMed Central. "What is Dry January?" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4684010.
- Rethinking Drinking. "Ready … or Not?" https://www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/Thinking-about-a-change/Its-up-to-you/Ready-Or-Not.aspx.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025." https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/resources/2020-2025-dietary-guidelines-online-materials/top-10-things-you-need-know-about-dietary.