Dry January

Many of you may be enjoying / enduring your very own ‘Dry January’ right now, so I just thought I would pen a few thoughts on this, as it seems to be attract more media attention every year – both positive and negative.


Dry January seems to have originated as a concept by Alcohol Concern, but has a couple of other guises too, perhaps most notably ‘Dryathlon’, by Cancer Research.

As far as I am aware, the challenge involves first abstaining from alcohol for the whole of the month of January, and then trying not to bore your friends and colleagues with your daily struggles / smugness.


Alcohol Concern and Cancer Research are of course two great charities, and the main aim of this event is to promote awareness of alcohol, perhaps highlighting our increasing dependence on it as a society.

Also, there is little doubt that after a month away from the booze, anyone is likely to feel healthier and more full of energy… not to mention a little richer too.


My main issue with Dry January is that by the time everyone gets to February, they can’t wait for that first drink back. This is where the event fails for me. It is very different to an event such as Stoptober, where the emphasis is on breaking the cycle of addiction and quitting smoking altogether, rather than just taking a very brief break.

Good health is based on habits of a lifetime, not a month of good behaviour here or there. Dry January is all too reminiscent of the quick-fix approach associated with dieting these days – not the sustainable, sensible behaviour change that might actually make a real impact on health in the long term.


So, if you are adopting Dry January solely as an reason to brag on social media, I honestly wouldn’t bother – the impact on your liver will be minimal at best after such a brief period of abstinence. However, if it is the start of a sustained approach towards achieving good health, then go for it (just try not to bore everyone in the process).

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