dry january

Each January, people around the globe participate in the viral trend, “Dry January.” The term means not consuming any alcohol throughout the entire month of January. A nod to the New Year, many people choose to participate to jump-start their health goals. Others join to be a part of something larger than themselves.

Since this phenomenon has been occurring for several years, researchers have been able to study the results. Not surprisingly to us, they found that participating in Dry January has produced lasting effects for many individuals that they benefit from for much longer than one month.

If you are struggling with addiction, or have a loved one who is, Dry January may be your reality forever. Good news – that means the benefits these people have found will be tenfold in your life.  

History of Dry January

This cultural shift of participating in Dry January began over 10 years ago in 2012. The British charity, Alcohol Change UK, started the initiative to, “ditch the hangover, reduce the waistline and save some serious money by giving up alcohol for 31 days.” You can imagine how those three benefits would appeal to the masses.

And appeal to us it did. Researchers found that more than a third of adults in the United States participated in the challenge in 2022. This could be for many reasons, including the rise of mental health awareness and the role alcohol plays in mental health.

Throughout the years, people have used this challenge to assess their relationship with alcohol, leading many to become more self-aware of if they have a more serious drinking problem.

Benefits of Dry January

The benefits of Dry January go way beyond what you may think. They include companionship if doing with a group, practicing your control of willpower, an opportunity to assess your relationship with alcohol, the chance to save money, and of course many physical and mental benefits.

Physical and mental benefits of Dry January can include:

  • Clearer skin
  • Digestion system improvement
  • Higher energy
  • Higher mental function
  • Improved liver function
  • Improved sleep
  • Increase in happiness
  • Fewer feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Memory improvement
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Weight loss

These benefits can show up as early as that first month of sobriety. However, maintaining sobriety over time increases their effects exponentially. Researchers have also found that people who participate in Dry January form better habits around drinking, and often drink less throughout the year or continue to refrain. This leads to even stronger positive effects in their lives.

How to Participate in Dry January

Similar to recovery, the first thing to do is commit to not drinking. Whether it’s in January (remember this can be done any month), or at a different time, commit to one month of not drinking any alcohol.

Next, recruit some friends or family to do this with you. There is strength in numbers and accountability. Plus, it can be a great way to get closer to the people in your life.

Other tips for participating in Dry January include:

  • Ridding your house of all alcohol prior – don’t tempt yourself
  • Refraining from parties or certain social settings if you know alcohol will be available and tempting
  • Finding new drinks to try instead – mocktails are often popular during this time
  • Try journaling throughout the month so you can check in and see the benefits begin to appear

Remember that this time is for you to make it what you need. Setbacks don’t mean failure.

Alcohol Addiction

As mentioned earlier, Dry January may be a life-long reality if you’re in recovery. However, if you’re unsure if your drinking has become unmanageable, this is an opportunity to assess. Knowing the difference between Alcoholism and problem drinking is a good place to start.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that alcoholism also referred to as Alcohol Use Disorder, is a disease that affects the body and brain. It’s characterized by a person’s inability to control their drinking, which often leads to problems at work, in relationships, and in health.

When comparing casual drinking and Alcoholism, there are signs to look out for. Signs of a problem drinker can include missing work after a night of drinking, getting into arguments when under the influence, or even reckless behavior when consuming alcohol. In comparison, signs of an alcoholic can be the inability to stop drinking after their first drink, the thought of when they can drink again consuming their minds, and physical symptoms when they stop drinking.

If you feel like you or a loved one has an alcohol addiction, help is available. Below are signs to look out for that may indicate you or a loved one would benefit from professional treatment for Alcoholism:

  • Not being able to limit the amount you drink
  • Having the desire to cut down on drinking but being unsuccessful in your attempts
  • Spending most of your time either drinking, figuring out how to get alcohol, or recovering from drinking
  • Continuing to drink even when it causes problems at work, school, or socially
  • Having withdrawal symptoms when you don’t drink, or drinking to avoid withdrawal symptoms

Getting Treatment

If you or a loved one are currently dealing with alcohol addiction and would like to know more about treatment options in Atlanta, contact us today. At Emerge Healing Center, our team can help you to decide which program is right for you, as well as design a treatment program that will maximize your chances of success. Gain control of your life with the help of the right treatment center, and find out just how fulfilling an addiction-free life can be.