Residents across Bath & North East Somerset are being encouraged to go completely alcohol-free as part of the nationwide Dry January campaign for 2019, supported by B&NES Council.
The campaign, run by the charity Alcohol Change UK and endorsed by Public Health England, involves participants stopping drinking alcohol for one month to feel healthier, save money and improve their relationship with alcohol long-term.
A YouGov poll released earlier this month revealed that one in ten people who drink – an estimated 4.2 million people in the UK – are planning to take part.
Dr Bruce Laurence, Director of Public Health B&NES, said: “Liver disease is on the rise in England, especially in women, when it is falling in most other European countries.
“Liver disease creeps up silently, giving few warnings until irreversible and potentially fatal damage occurs. If you are someone who socialises with other people who like a drink or three, and habitually “go large”, it is so easy not to notice when your consumption goes way over recommended limits.
“I sometimes find myself in this position, especially towards the end of the year. So I value my annual Dry January as a time and a chance to renegotiate my relationship to alcohol, remember that it’s not so hard to say no, and give myself that extra physical and mental boost that comes with sticking to soft.”
According to research carried out by the University of Sussex Dry January helps people to drink more healthily year-round.
Their study of 800 Dry January participants found:
- They were still drinking less in August;
- The number of drinking days per week dropped on average from 4.3 to 3.3;
- Units consumed per drinking day dropped on average from 8.6 to 7.1;
- Frequency of drunkenness fell on average from 3.4 per month to 2.1 per month.
The study also revealed that people who drank more riskily before taking up the Dry January challenge saw the biggest decrease in the amount and regularity of their drinking – suggesting that Dry January is particularly helpful for heavier drinkers.
The research also showed that:
- 93% of participants had a sense of achievement;
- 88% saved money;
- 82% think more deeply about their relationship with drink;
- 80% feel more in control of their drinking;
- 76% learned more about when and why they drink;
- 71% realised they don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves;
- 70% had generally improved health;
- 71% slept better;
- 67% had more energy;
- 58% lost weight;
- 57% had better concentration;
- 54% had better skin.
Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said: “Put simply, Dry January can change lives. We hear every day from people who took charge of their drinking using Dry January, and who feel healthier and happier as a result.
“The brilliant thing about Dry January is that it’s not really about January. Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialise.
“That means that for the rest of the year we are better able to make decisions about our drinking, and to avoid slipping into drinking more than we really want to.
“Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol – seven forms of cancer, liver disease, mental health problems – but we are often unaware that drinking less has more immediate benefits too. Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money, better skin, losing weight… The list goes on.
“Dry January helps millions to experience those benefits and to make a longer-lasting change to drink more healthily.”
By signing up for Dry January you’ll increase your chance of getting the most out of the month by receiving regular support emails with tips and tricks from experts and others who are taking part.
To sign up visit: www.dryjanuary.org.uk
Participants can also download: Try Dry: The Dry January App to track their units, money and calories saved.
Also available is Try Dry: The Official Guide to a Month Off Booze, published by Square Peg, with a foreword by comedian and actor Lee Mack.