Dry January, as the name suggests, is celebrated in January every year. This month of avoiding alcohol is a public health campaign that is practiced across America and European countries. Dry January aims to encourage people to stop drinking anything alcoholic for a month and aims for people to be more aware of their drinking habits, manage their alcohol consumption, and develop a healthier relationship with it. Many people around the world choose to observe Dry January for health reasons, to manage their drinking habits, reset their drinking, and feel more in control of their alcohol intake.
History of Dry January
While the name “Dry January” is fairly recent, the idea of setting a month aside to abstain from alcohol has been around as far back as the 1940s. At the time, the Finnish government introduced “Sober January” as part of the country’s war efforts.
Dry January does not aim to encourage teetotalism, which is the total personal abstinence from alcoholic beverages. The campaign only lasts a month, and while a small percentage of people stay abstinent, most participants return to drinking after the month. However, the majority of participants find themselves able to manage their drinking better after a month of abstinence.
While alcohol does play an important social role in many cultures across the world, it is a depressant that acts like a drug. In small quantities, it reduces anxiety and makes it easy for people to socialize. However, as the body adjusts to the alcohol, larger quantities are required to produce the same effect. In larger quantities, alcohol can cause alcohol poisoning, unconsciousness, and even death. Most people resort to harmful drinking episodes during difficult life periods, and this drinking is exacerbated if they already have an established drinking habit.
For those who recognize that their drinking habit is veering into the territory of being harmful and out of control, Dry January is an excellent opportunity to reset their drinking habits. During this month people can see how their lives can be without alcohol and take the time to build healthier coping mechanisms for day-to-day difficulties and celebrations. This empowers them to reserve their drinking for occasions and reign in the desire for a drink when situations become difficult to process.
Dry January timeline
As part of their war effort, the Finnish government introduces the idea of ‘Sober January.’
A writer at the Seattle Times, Brodeur writes an article and uses the term ‘Dry January,’ which gains popularity.
A charity called Alcohol Concern based in the U.K. registers Dry January as a trademark.
The Dry January campaign becomes a part of the government’s official health program, and Alcohol Concern works with Public Health England to promote the campaign.
Dry January FAQs
Is Dry January a good idea?
Yes, because Dry January helps you drink healthier all year.
Does Dry January help the liver?
Yes. A month of no drinking can help reduce alcohol-induced inflammation of the liver.
Does a month off from alcohol really help?
People report being able to manage their alcohol intake better after a month without it and drink less in the long term.
How to Observe Dry January
Give away all your alcohol
You cannot drink if you do not have any alcohol! One of the easiest ways to participate in Dry January is to give away your alcohol or use whatever is left in your cooking before January.
Find a great overnight cafè
When you head out to a pub, you are just looking for a place to socialize, which happens to have alcohol. Pick out a great overnight cafè that you can hang out at and you will get rid of temptation.
Tell everyone you know
You cannot build a habit without help. Let everyone you hang out with know that you are abstaining and accept their support and encouragement.
5 Facts About Dry January That Will Surprise You
In the beginning, 17,000 people participated
17,000 Britons participated in Alcohol Concern’s first campaign in 2014.
Some countries have Dry February
In countries like the Czech Republic and Canada, the campaign is for Dry February instead of Dry January.
4% of people stopped drinking altogether
In a study conducted by the University of Sussex, the researchers found that 4% of people were able to stay abstinent even after Dry January was over.
The number of participants is increasing
In America, the number of adults participating in the campaign in 2021 was 13%, a step up from 11% of the years before.
Dry January was launched in Switzerland
In 2021, a coalition of non-governmental organizations came together to organize the campaign for Dry January in Switzerland, including Blue Cross Switzerland.
Why Dry January is Important
We want to be healthier
We all know that drinking too much is not the greatest idea. We think that abstinence for a short time is a great way to get healthier.
We need a break
The holidays are a busy time for socializing, eating, and drinking. We need a break from the rich food, people, and the large quantities of alcohol!
We want to be more aware
We do not want to drink indiscriminately. We want to be conscious of how much we drink, and when we drink. This allows for better control.
Dry January dates