Dry January and Sober Spring

Give up alcohol for a month
Couleur at Pixabay

Dry January is organized by Alcohol Change UK. The idea for dry January came about because Emily Pearson had taken a month off alcohol in 2011 and realized the benefits of not drinking for a short period.

In 2012 she began working for Alcohol Change and decided to launch a campaign where people volunteer to give up drinking for a month. It was named Dry January and the campaign began in 2013.

During the first year, 4,000 people signed up to take part and, over the years, more and more people have joined. 130,000 joined the 2022 campaign.

The benefit of Dry January

One of the benefits of giving up alcohol in January is the amount of money you will be:

 to save. According to Drinkaware, the average household with two adults will spend around 17.60 a week on alcohol, so that’s 70.40 a month.

But of course, you could spend less than this or more depending on what you drink and where you buy it. For example, a bottle of wine bought from a supermarket on a weekend day could cost you as little as 7.00. Whereas a night in a club drinking beer and alcopops could cost you around 35.00 for a night out.

Your health

The biggest benefit to giving up alcohol for a month is to your health. You should notice an improvement in your general health after a short time. Giving up alcohol for a month will affect therefore, lowering your risk of heart disease.

Blood pressure

Regular drinking might cause you to put on weight and increase your blood pressure. High blood pressure means that your heart must work harder to pump blood around your body. This will put strain on your heart and your arteries which can lead to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease.

Stopping alcohol for just one month will see your blood pressure drop and therefore lower your risk of a heart condition.

Blood sugar and cholesterol

Alcohol contains sugar which makes your blood sugar levels rise and increases your risk of diabetes. Cholesterol blocks your arteries which can lead to heart problems.

After one month without alcohol, your sugar and cholesterol levels should begin to fall.

Your liver

When you stop drinking you give your liver a rest from having to process alcohol into a waste product. Liver stiffness is an early sign of liver disease which is brought on by alcohol. Taking time away from alcohol can reduce liver stiffness.

Skin and general wellbeing

When you’re not drinking you may notice your skin looks better. This is b because alcohol dehydrates the skin and leaves it looking grey and sallow. When you stop drinking your skin is hydrated So it looks plumper, with a healthier colour.

You should also feel better about yourself. By giving up alcohol you will sleep better and have a better residence to coughs and colds. You should feel less stressed and calmer.

How do I join?

All you need to do is download the dry January app. It’s free and it is available for Android and Apple phones. You can also subscribe to Alcohol Change’s email support. You get free weekly emails to help you stay on track.

If you need more inspiration, you can also listen to the Try Dry Podcast to guide you through the month.

Should I stop for longer?

If you want to give up drinking for a longer period, then you can sign up for Sober Spring. Sober Spring runs from the 20th of March until the 20th of June. Like dry January you can receive weekly inspirational emails to support you with help and advice.

At VSM Pharmacy

If you want to stop drinking but you are worried about alcohol withdrawal, then you should see your doctor. It may be that they can prescribe medication to help ease alcohol cravings.

The pharmacy can also advise you about medication to relieve anxiety if you feel anxious about giving up alcohol. We are here too for any vitamins and minerals you might want to take during your time away from alcohol to give your immunity an extra boost.  

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