Each year thousands of people make resolutions to be healthier. One national campaign that encourages people to take a short break from drinking alcohol is Dry January, run by UK charity Alcohol Concern.
Dry January is a fantastic opportunity for all of us to take a month off booze, and give our bodies a break.
- Joanna Simons, Chief Executive, Alcohol Concern
During the first Dry January in 2013, more than 4,350 people took part. Last year, that number hit 2 million, with 16% of the UK population attempting an alcohol-free month. And for many, the habit sticks: "We know that 67% of people who do Dry January with our support are still drinking less six months down the line," Joanna says.
Alcohol Concern supports those taking part with an app to help track and monitor the impact being dry is having on their body, mind and wallet.
Take a break and save money, sleep better, lose weight
Research done at the Royal Free Hospital showed:
- 79% of Dry January participants saved money
- 62% found they slept better
- 49% lost weight
Alcohol Concern's goal is not to stop people drinking alcohol forever. "We're not saying people shouldn't drink," says Joanna, "but that we all need the right information, so that we can make better choices. Alcohol Concern has one simple mission, which is to reduce the harm caused by drinking alcohol".
Mentor supports Dry January as an opportunity to make healthier choices. We know there are many good reasons not to drink, or to reduce the amount of alcohol we consume, such as:
- Being healthier: Reducing your alcohol intake can lead to losing weight, as well as clearer skin and improved sleep.
- Feeling better: Alcohol is a depressant, which means regular or heavy drinking can have long-term effects on your mood and mental health.
- Maintaining self-respect: Drinking alcohol could lead to embarrassing situations that might damage your reputation or alter important relationships.
- Drinking can be dangerous: The more you drink, the more likely you are to get hurt. 14% of all car accidents in Britain are caused by drink driving, and alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes in the UK. Alcohol also impairs judgment, making it more likely you will take risks you otherwise would avoid.
- If you have a family history of alcoholism: If one or more members of your family have suffered from alcoholism, you or your child may be more vulnerable to developing a drinking problem.
Pennies saved are funds raised
Figures from the Office of National Statistics suggest that the average person spends £40 a month on alcohol. If you’re a heavier than average drinker, and you start to factor in the additional costs of an alcohol-heavy social life, the savings can quickly add up. A trip to the pub might cost £20, but other costs add up quickly – for example, a taxi to get you home, or the takeaway you stopped for on the way.
Club Soda – which encourages its members to cut down or eliminate drinking in – polled their members before Dry January in 2016 and found that more than 50% of those polled expected to save more than £200 in January from not drinking. That money can almost certainly be put to better use – including donating part of those savings to a charity working to improve alcohol and drugs education for young people.
Support Mentor during Dry January
If you do choose to use Dry January as a fundraising opportunity, you can select Mentor as your charity of choice when you register.
Sign up today
To take part in Dry January, sign up here: http://www.alcoholconcern.org.uk/dry-january-signup
Once you've signed up, go to the App Store or Google Play to download the app – Dry January and Beyond – to receive support, motivational messages and exciting special offers throughout the month.
Tips for parents and carers
If you're looking for advice on talking to your child about alcohol, click here.