The holidays are over, and as the fog of the festivities begins to lift, you may realize you’ve had one drink too many. With the drinks flowing freely and the merriment at an all-time high, it’s easy to down glass after glass. But, now’s the time to look forward to a Dry January.
Well, it’s no surprise if Dry January is on your list of New Year resolutions. But what is Dry January? Do you know how to do dry January? Is Dry January good for you?
In this piece, we’ll tell you all about the alcohol-free challenge. We’ll give you Dry January tips, and if you’re afraid 31 days without alcohol is a tough hill to climb, we’ll tell you how to survive Dry January.
Dry January is not just another challenge: it’s one with immense health benefits. Let’s get started.
What is Dry January?
You may have seen a Dry January meme and wondered what it’s all about. It’s a health challenge that will help you start the year with a fit body and sharp mind.
Alcohol Change UK launched Dry January in 2013, a public health initiative aimed at helping people abstain from alcohol for 31 days.
The alcohol charity describes the program as “31 days alcohol-free, a break and total reset for the body and mind.” While the challenge originated in the UK, millions worldwide participate each year.
The challenge’s goal is to help people who think they are drinking too much cut down on their alcohol consumption. It is also open to people who want to live healthier and start the new year on a healthy note.
Holiday drinking can get out of hand, and some people may find that they cannot control their drinking after the holidays. Dry January puts a brake on alcohol consumption and gives you time to get a handle on drinking before it becomes an addiction.
Tommie Trevino, patient navigator and substance abuse counselor at UC Davis Health, said: “Addiction sneaks up on you. When someone starts questioning whether they have a problem, I suggest they abstain for 30 days. I say, ‘If you can’t stop for 30 days, why not?’ Then we may need to reevaluate the person’s relationship with alcohol.”
Is Dry January Good for You?
If you’re one of those readers asking, “is Dry January good for you?” You need to consider the health effects of alcohol and how much you can improve your health simply by reducing your alcohol intake or cutting it out altogether.
According to the CDC, excessive alcohol is a leading preventable cause of death in America. On average, people who die from excessive alcohol use lose 26 years of life.
In addition, excessive alcohol use in America is responsible for 140,000 fatalities and more than $240 billion in economic costs annually.
The CDC classifies excessive alcohol use into the following categories:
- Any alcohol use by a pregnant woman or anyone younger than 21.
- Binge drinking: Consumption of four or more drinks on an occasion for women or five or more drinks on an occasion for men.
- Heavy Drinking: Consumption of eight or more drinks per week for women or fifteen or more for men.
Health Effects of Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Is Dry January good for you? Yes, especially if you consider the following harmful health effects of excessive alcohol use:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Increased risk of STIs
- Liver disease
- Unintended pregnancy
Effect of Alcohol on Sexual Performance
One significant health effect of excessive alcohol consumption in men is a drop in sexual performance. Alcohol can make it challenging to get and maintain an erection, a condition known as erectile dysfunction or “whiskey dick” in common slang.
Alcohol can decrease blood flow to the penis, depress your central nervous system and increase angiotensin, a hormone linked to erectile dysfunction, all of which can lead to erectile dysfunction.
Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to delayed ejaculation. You may also take more sexual risks when drunk and put yourself at risk of sexually transmitted infections.
So, if you want to keep it up and enjoy a satisfying sex life this year and beyond, participate in Dry January 2023.
Benefits of Dry January
Dry January is good for you; your heart, liver, sexual performance, and body will be glad you skipped the booze this January.
According to one study, “abstinence from alcohol in moderate-heavy drinkers improves insulin resistance, weight, BP and cancer-related growth factors. These data support an independent association of alcohol consumption with cancer risk and suggest an increased risk of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease.”
The study also found that regular drinkers who cut out alcohol for 30 days slept better, had more energy, and lost weight. So, just one month of discipline can have massive health benefits.
Dry January Tips
While 31 days of alcohol may seem like a long time, it is possible to have a Dry January.
We’ve outlined the following tips on how to do Dry January to help you make it through the challenge. All you need to do is stick with them.
Find a Non-Alcoholic Substitute Drink
You can have a good time without alcohol, especially when drinks are flowing on social occasions.
However, you’re less likely to consume alcohol at social events if you have favorite non-alcoholic substitutes like sparkling water, soda, CBD drinks, or fruit juice on hand.
Whenever you feel like you need alcohol to take the edge off a long day, reach for non-alcoholic substitutes instead.
Keep Temptation Away
You must only stock up on non-alcoholic substitutes and discard the alcohol. It makes it easier to abstain if there’s none in the house.
If you’re having guests over, tell them to bring their drinks. Also, if you have a social occasion with friends, you can ask the group to include non-alcoholic beverages for those who prefer not to drink alcohol.
Better still, go with your non-alcoholic friends!
Create or Join a Support Group
You’re not alone; Dry January does not have to be lonely. Millions of people around the world take part in the challenge each year.
Find friends and other people in your community taking part in the challenge. Together, you can help keep each other accountable.
Support groups are a proven, effective tool on the list of tips on how to successfully do Dry January.
You can also create and join online support groups; these groups usually have other helpful tips on how to survive January Dry January.
Go Easy on Yourself
It’s a challenge, so it’s not going to be easy. If you slip up one day, don’t spiral away on a binge because you feel guilty.
Even with a bit of alcohol, you’ve still succeeded in drastically reducing your alcohol consumption, and that’s a win.
Don’t give up. Get up and keep at it. Every new day is a new chance to practice alcohol abstinence.
Going easy on yourself is one of the very effective Dry January tips, but it’s not motivation to intentionally slip up. Be responsible!
Use Apps to Help You Stay on Track
Thanks to modern technology, there’s an app for just about anything. The Try Dry app tracks your drinking, helps you set personal goals, and has motivational information that includes the money and calories you save from alcohol abstinence.
It might just be the help you need to keep going.
The Perfect Dry January With Craft Medical
Craft Medical is all about wellness, and we encourage any challenge or routine that helps you live healthier.
So, if you ask us, is Dry January good for you? Our answer is a resounding yes!
Staying away from alcohol has immense health benefits, including sexual health benefits. Don’t be surprised if you notice an uptick in sexual performance and satisfaction when participating in Dry January.
Dry January is an excellent way to start the year, but you don’t have to end healthy living after the challenge. All year round, we’re available to help you live healthily and make the best decisions for your body and mind.
Need to speak with a medical professional? Click the link below to schedule a private and confidential appointment with us.