Special to the Village News
Drinking during the holiday season is commonplace. Social drinking is widely accepted and lightens moods and brings people together. However, many people see their drinking habits change and find themselves consuming more alcohol than usual.
The holidays are a complex time of year; even the weeks leading up to it can be challenging. Dry January is an opportunity to abstain from alcohol for the entirety of the first month of the year and reset your mind and body.
If you need a reason, ask yourself if you are using alcohol to cope with stress, if you find yourself stressed without alcohol, or if your drinking has impacted your relationships or your professional life. If you are answering yes, Dry January will be of significant benefit.
Even giving up alcohol for just one month, you will notice a positive impact. You’ll see you have more energy, sleep better, lose weight, have clearer skin, have more money, lower blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. Your mental sharpness and well-being significantly improve.
Statistically, California sees the highest number of alcohol-related deaths. There is an annual average of over 15,000 deaths in the state attributed to excessive alcohol use. Binge-drinking Californians binge a median of 1.6 times monthly.
While abstaining from alcohol significantly improves health and contributes to reducing alcohol-related deaths, it is also the backbone of drunk driving prevention. Overall, there are more benefits associated with a Dry January than not.
It can seem challenging, especially if alcohol has taken up a significant spot in your life, but there are practical tips you can use to make Dry January a success.
Initially, create a supporting environment where you know you will succeed. Thoroughly purge all the booze around you; either dump it, hide it, or give it away. Moreover, find a suitable non-alcoholic drink for social situations.
Recruit a friend or family member to participate and help avoid temptations. Not only will you support one another, but you can also plan activities that do not involve alcohol, and you can speak about the successes and challenges of abstaining from alcohol.
Stay busy and active and take this time to focus on your mental and physical well-being; take advantage of having more energy and sleeping better. Utilize Dry January apps that will help you track your progress and find practical ways to hold yourself accountable.
Ideally, this can be optimal to reflect on your drinking habits. During the month, you will begin to lose alcohol cravings, and you may realize alcohol does not need to take up such ample space in your life. If the benefits make you feel great physically and mentally, consider continuing for another 30 days. Embrace your new attitude to alcohol use.
Nickolaus Hayes is a healthcare professional in the field of substance use and addiction recovery and is part of the editorial team at DRS. His primary focus is spreading awareness by educating individuals on the topics surrounding substance use.