Any resolution that is based on the date in my view has an inherent risk of failure; however if you make a resolution to stop drinking because you woke up in a gutter, or woke up not knowing or not remembering what you did last night; or worse you wake up and you do remember; when you’re filled with guilt or shame… that is more likely to be a driver to change your behavior.

I suspect that most people having a dry January are worried that they are drinking too much already. And that’s quite probably true. But, medically speaking, it’s far better for you to have a consistent two days a week without alcohol all year round. One month isn’t really a long enough abstinence to notice a marked improvement in one’s health, appearance, mood or outlook. By the time your sleep patterns recover from the jolt of sobriety, the month is practically over.

It isn’t easy to make a major change such as quitting the booze. For anyone who has decided not to drink as a New Year’s resolution my wishes and my thoughts are with you and I am willing you towards a better life. You don’t need drink, no one needs drink.

But “dry January” is a bad idea. I struggled through it years ago when I still hoped moderation was possible for me. I considered a dry month as proof I didn’t have a more serious problem. So I filled the fridge full of alcohol free beers and hid away at home feeling ill, feeling depressed and thoroughly miserable. But I thought I was doing myself and my body a favour. It was hell.

And come midnight on 1st February I began an almighty booze binge feeling “I deserved it”. Within a matter of weeks I was back drinking the same amount or more.

So if you have “given up” for January, then it’s a great start, but be mindful of your reasons. I kidded myself I was doing a “reset” of my tolerance and I genuinely believed that over the next months my intake would be more moderate. I was wrong.

For some it is a good time and opportunity to reflect. It is a good idea in that it raises the awareness of the harm that alcohol can do. Just because it was a nightmare for me and did absolutely nothing to help sort my addiction out does not mean it is a waste of time for you.

Just don’t make the same mistakes I did and assume a month off would undo the other 11 months of binge boozing…

So I say F**k dry January… but others have their view:

“Alcohol is the UK’s biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49. This Dry January, we’re  [Alcohol Concern] working with six national charities who tackle issues closely related to alcohol. Through Dry January you can raise money for them and us, Alcohol Concern. Together, we will reduce the harm caused by alcohol”

Good luck either way

 

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