As We Ring In The New Year, The World Celebrates Dry January
As we kick off 2018, millions of people around the globe will be participating in the international phenomenon known as “Dry January” – also called “Sober January.”
Dry January is an alcohol awareness campaign founded by a national charity in the United Kingdom called Alcohol Concern. Founded in 1984, the organization’s mission is to reduce problems caused by alcohol and attempt to create a society where alcohol does no harm. Dry January inspires people around the world to abstain from alcohol for the first month of every year to raise awareness about the dangers of drinking and encourage sobriety.
One Woman’s Month-Long Journey Marks The Very First Dry January
The Dry January concept– now recognized by countries around the world – started with just one woman.
In 2011, UK resident Emily Robinson was getting ready to run a marathon in February. As part of her preparation and training for the event, she decided she was going to give up alcohol for the month of January. Robinson wasn’t an alcoholic and she didn’t consider herself a heavy drinker, but she did like to indulge herself and partake of alcohol from time to time. After all, Brits are known for their love of alcohol. Statistics indicate there are at least 600,000 alcohol-dependent drinkers in the UK.
During her month-long commitment to sobriety, Robinson discovered a few things along her journey. She found out that by abstaining from beer, wine, and liquor for only thirty days, she lost weight, she slept better, and she had more energy to complete the 26-mile marathon. She was also surprised to learn that all of her friends were very interested to know more about what it was like to give up alcohol for an entire month.
Little did Robinson know that her solo journey would soon bring awareness to alcohol abuse internationally.
A Brief History On Dry January
In 2012, Robinson went to work for Alcohol Concern. Together, Robinson and the organization made the decision to create the concept of Dry January and make it the official flagship campaign for Alcohol Concern. With a modest website, a small social media campaign, and a whole lot of word-of-mouth advertising; Alcohol Concern began promoting the benefits of giving up drinking for thirty days. Before long, they had a substantial social media following and some significant press coverage.
Amazingly, by 2017, Dry January has had more than 2,959 press mentions globally, more than 46,000 Facebook likes, 7,379 Twitter followers, and an astonishing six billion hashtag impressions. In 2017, more than five million people in the UK alone participated in Dry January – although not everyone made it the entire month.
Giving Up Drinking For One Month Has Positive Results
In its early stages, many people wondered if Dry January would really bring about positive results. Could quitting drinking for just thirty days really make that big of a difference? To show that giving up alcohol for a month could really have a positive impact, Dr. Richard de Visser from the University of Sussex volunteered to administer a free survey. He distributed a questionnaire to the people who participated in the first Dry January.
His findings indicated that six months after Dry January, seven out of 10 people continued to drink less than did they before the campaign started and almost 25 percent who were drinking at harmful levels before Dry January were in the low risk category.
Also, London liver specialist Dr. Rajiv Jalan conducted a study on those who participated in Dry January and analyzed the findings. He found that in just one month of alcohol abstinence, most people’s liver fat fell by at least 15 percent. He also found that blood glucose levels — a key factor in determining diabetes risk — fell by an average of 16 percent.
Why You Might Want To Consider Participating In Dry January
If you have been struggling with an alcohol problem, Dry January is the ideal time to make the commitment to quit drinking. If you need some motivation to take the plunge, here are six ways Dry January can benefit you:
- Dry January is a great way to kick off long-term sobriety. When you give up alcohol, the first month is the most difficult. By participating in Dry January, you are joining millions of people around the world who have also given up alcohol. It will be helpful to know that when you give up the bottle, you won’t be alone.
- If you give up drinking for thirty days, you will most likely shed a few unwanted pounds. It is reported that 79 percent of Dry January participants lose weight. Alcohol is filled with empty calories that quickly turn into fat. By giving up drinking, you will be taking those calories out of your weekly consumption.
- You will sleep better. Sixty-two percent of Dry January participants have reported that they slept better when they gave up alcohol for a month. Alcohol disrupts brain waves and causes poor REM sleep. When you quit drinking, you will feel more rested.
- You will save money. You may not realize it, but alcohol is an expensive habit. Forty-nine percent of Dry January participants save money when they give up alcohol for thirty days.
- Your body will thank you for it. Alcohol wreaks havoc on the entire body – especially the liver. When you stop drinking, you improve your overall health and wellness. You give your body a rest from the toxicity of alcohol.
- You will feel better. No more hangovers!
If You Have Been Engaged In Hardcore Drinking, You Should Get Professional Help Before You Commit To Dry January
Dry January is a great idea for those who engage in mild to moderate drinking, but if you are an alcoholic, it is not recommended that you give up alcohol cold turkey. If you drink mass quantities of alcohol every day, you are probably addicted to alcohol and you will go through withdrawal if you attempt to stop drinking without medical help.
Withdrawal is what happens when your body is dependent on a chemical substance and you abruptly remove that substance from your system. Alcohol withdrawal can result in seizures, coma, or even death.
If you think you might be an alcoholic, Dry January is the perfect time to get sober, but you should consult with a doctor or an addiction specialist before you attempt to give up alcohol. A professional medical detox is recommended for those who have an addiction to alcohol.
With a medical detox, you will be administered medication and be evaluated around-the-clock so you can safely and comfortably withdrawal from alcohol. Not only is alcohol withdrawal dangerous and life-threatening, it is also extremely uncomfortable. It is not something you should attempt to do on your own without professional medication attention.
Not sure if you are an alcoholic? Here are seven telltale signs that alcohol is ruining your life.
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Still not convinced to participate in Dry January? Read this personal story that offers 13 reasons to quit drinking.