What is Dry January, and what are the benefits?

January is often a time when people are looking to introduce healthy habits, and make positive lifestyle changes.

After enjoying a drink or two over the Christmas period, ‘Dry January’, now in its tenth year, sees thousands across the country give up alcohol for a month.

People can download an app to track their units, money and calories saved, plus many more features. Or they can sign up at www.dryjanuary.org.uk for regular support emails with tips and tricks from experts and others taking part.

What are the benefits?

Not drinking alcohol for 31 days gives a ‘total reset for the body and mind’, with an abundance of health benefits including improved sleep, more energy and reduced anxiety.

People taking part are likely to notice their skin get brighter, and their trousers looser, with the average bottle of wine containing around 650 empty calories.

Additionally, taking part can save you money. If you spend just £30 a week on alcohol, that would be a monthly saving of £120.

Dry January also gives you the opportunity to reset your relationship with alcohol – Research conducted by the University of Sussex has found that six months after Dry January, more than 70% of people who take on the month with Alcohol Change UK’s Try Dry app or coaching emails are still drinking more healthily. On top of that, they have boosted levels of wellbeing, and much more besides. 

Cllr Adam Dance, Executive Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity has signed up to Dry January and said:

“The new year and added motivation can be a great time for people to reduce or give up alcohol, with the added incentive of knowing that many others are also doing it as part of Dry January.

If you haven’t yet started, it’s not too late – just pick a day in January and then stop drinking alcohol for 31 days.”

How to get started

For some people, it may be as easy as putting your alcoholic drinks away in the cupboard and waiting until February rolls along, but for most, we find it hard not to have a little drink. 

Alcohol Change’s ‘Try Dry’ app can help track the units, calories and money saved when you cut down or cut out alcohol.

People can download an app to track their units, money and calories saved, plus many more features. Or they can sign up at www.dryjanuary.org.uk for regular support emails with tips and tricks from experts and others taking part.

It can also help to take part with a friend or family member so that you are not alone and have someone that understands the challenge at hand. 

If you’re heading out with friends, you could also try finding a substitute for your favourite alcohol drink, such as a soft drink or mocktail. These are safe and sensible alternatives to alcoholic drinks.

Somerset’s Public Health team and Somerset Drug and Alcohol Service will be visiting libraries across Somerset to promote Dry January 2023 and talk about alcohol. You can see them at:

  • Taunton Library: Monday 09th January 2023, from 9.30am
  • Glastonbury Library: Tuesday 10th January 2023, from 9.30am
  • Yeovil Library: Monday 16th January 2023, 9.30am – 2.30pm
  • Bridgwater Library: Monday 23rd January 2023, from 09.30am

Minehead Library: Monday 30th January 2023, from 09.30am

The Somerset Drug and Alcohol Service (SDAS) delivered by the charity Turning Point, provides free and confidential support for people wanting to make changes to their relationship with alcohol. For support speak to your GP or call SDAS 0300 303 8788 or visit www.turning-point.co.uk/sdas.