What Is Dry January?

Dry January is an annual opportunity to change your relationship with alcohol. While some people use Dry January as a chance to jumpstart a journey to recovery from a substance use disorder, others simply spend this month in sobriety to reset their relationship with alcohol for the coming year. Regardless of your personal goals or how often you drink, Dry January is a great way to start a new year.

What Is Dry January?

People who observe Dry January abstain from drinking alcohol throughout the entire month. The practice of Dry January first began in 2013, when it was promoted by the British nonprofit organization Alcohol Change UK. The following year, Dry January became a government-backed health campaign in the United Kingdom. Today, people in multiple countries participate in this annual movement to reduce alcohol consumption.

What Are Some Benefits of Doing Dry January?

Whether you are a casual drinker only or you struggle with frequent alcohol use, Dry January offers many advantages for both your mental and physical health. Observing this month of abstinence from alcohol can also help you financially.

Some of the benefits you will enjoy if you choose to participate in Dry January include:

  • Weight loss – Alcoholic drinks typically contain a lot of extra calories. When you stop drinking during Dry January, your calorie intake will decrease, which can lead to weight loss.
  • Healthier skin – Alcohol consumption causes both dehydration and inflammation, both of which dramatically damage your skin. People who drink heavily are more likely to deal with dry skin, as well as wrinkles and other skin problems. After a month of abstaining from alcohol, you may notice that your skin looks much healthier.
  • Improved mental function – Drinking affects your mental clarity and ability to reason, even when you aren’t under the influence. When you participate in Dry January, you give your brain a chance to recover so you can think more clearly.
  • A healthier constitution – Drinking alcohol affects every system and function in your body, from your neurological function to your digestion. When you quit drinking alcohol, even temporarily, all of these systems will function more smoothly.
  • Lower risk of disease – Ongoing alcohol consumption raises your risk of certain diseases, such as liver dysfunction and some types of cancer. Abstaining from alcohol for any period of time will reduce this risk.
  • Money saved – It’s no secret that alcohol can be expensive, especially when you buy your drinks in restaurants or bars. Even one month of not drinking can make a huge difference in your bank account.

If you want to begin the year on a positive note, staying sober throughout January is a great way to start. After you have spent 31 days without alcohol and you begin to see the advantages of sobriety, you may even decide to continue your sobriety for the rest of the year. After all, the longer you spend without alcohol, the more benefits you will see.

For people who drink alcohol regularly, Dry January can be a challenge, especially during the first few days. Fortunately, plenty of resources are available to help you stick to your commitment throughout the month. For example, apps like SoberTool and Nomo can give you the tools and encouragement you need to keep going when it gets tough. Likewise, reaching out to friends, family or even professional counselors can be helpful during Dry January.

If you are a heavy drinker, be sure that you safely detox at the beginning of Dry January. Otherwise, you may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms or even dangerous complications. Some heavy drinkers may need to enroll in a medical detox program for support during this time. If you find yourself struggling to stay sober during Dry January, you may have an alcohol use disorder.

Contact Riverside Recovery of Tampa’s admissions team today for more information about our available programs to help you recover.