Are you up for a booze-free ‘Dry January’?

Washington: It’s that time of the year when the floodgates of booze are let loose as people merry and rejoice over the holidays. The coming January will probably be the damage control phase for a lot of folks after nearly a month of getting sloshed.

The concept of Dry January was made popular by a British non-profit organisation in 2013, after which it gained the endorsement of the British government and was turned into a public health campaign in the year that followed.

Dr. Michael Fingerhood, from Medicine and Public Health at Johns Hopkins, though not being associated with the study, told USA Today about the important lessons people can learn by following Dry January.

“Is it a positive? I think it is,” he said. “There’s going to be people that say I feel better, I sleep better, I lost weight and I’m more motivated to exercise.” The strong-willed lot can probably go completely off alcohol at once, but form many it's not that easy. For such individuals, the month-long abstinence has to be a gradual and well-planned process.

Co-director of the Centre for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Timothy Wilens told USA Today that the people taking up this challenge need to ensure certain things in advance to make the Dry January a success.

“When you’re walking in and say ‘I want to stop using' — add something to it. What are you going to replace it with? How are you going to fill the time?” Replacing alcohol with physical activity is the best bet to fight off the cravings.

At the same time, it’s never a good idea to avoid social situations where alcohol might be available, as it may lead to a feeling of isolation. Instead of staying home, it’s always better to replace alcohol with non-alcoholic beverages while hanging out with family and friends.

Also, family and friends should ideally be intimated prior to starting Dry January because an effective social support system can prove to be highly effective in holding people accountable for their drinking habits.


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