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Dry January: What’s With the Hype?

Updated: Jan 25, 2023

Dry January is becoming more and more popular among adults to start the new year off in a healthier way, after the excess of drinking and enjoying life’s indulgences over the holiday season. Like me, you may be wondering, how did this trend even start? What are the benefits or risks, if any?

Dry January, trademarked by the organization Alcohol Change UK, started out by one individual who abstained from alcohol while she was trying to prepare for a half marathon. As others became interested and wanted to join in her abstinence, she started the campaign that is currently celebrating its 10th anniversary this year! Since the campaign started, it has spread like wildfire across the globe with others expressing interest in wanting to join the challenge. Many people share that they are wanting to participate in Dry January to help start the year off healthier, want to overall cut back on their drinking or want to challenge themselves in a different way. During this period, the goal is to take a complete break from consuming alcohol and in a way test your own willpower to be able to turn down a drink in a society where alcohol use is so prevalent. Whatever the reason may be, it is important to be mindful of your own alcohol consumption, stressors and coping skills.

What are the benefits:

While substance use over time can have major impacts on our brain, body and even our mental health, even taking a short break from use can produce many benefits. Some of these include weight loss, better sleep at night, feeling more energized, no hangovers and even boosting your mood.

What are the risks:

If you are an excessive drinker and potentially dependent on alcohol, taking an abrupt stop could likely cause you to experience alcohol withdrawal syndrome, which in severe cases can be extremely dangerous. In this instance, it is important to recognize how often you drink, the reason behind it and if you may need further support in your substance use journey.

Through all of this, whether you started January 1st, are looking to start now or are planning a break in the future, it is important to be mindful of yourself and your body all year long. Making a change doesn’t have to only start at the beginning of a new year but can happen whenever you are ready. Below are some tips to help you through a period of alcohol abstinence.

Tips for a successful abstinence break:

  • Create a support group or find a support buddy

  • Use the Try Dry app

  • Avoid temptations as much as you can and prepare yourself ahead of time incase alcohol will be present to find an alternative

  • Find bars and restaurants that have a mocktail menu

  • Bring your own mocktails to social gatherings if you’re able to

  • Give yourself grace; we aren’t perfect, and it doesn’t mean all of your progress is lost if you slip up one time

If you are concerned about your own substance use or want support in making a change, we can help! To schedule an appointment or consultation, call 832-966-0214 and/or email:

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