Dry January, which involves abstaining from alcohol for the entire first month of the year, may seem tempting to those who drank excessively over the festive season. At first sight, there appears to be nothing wrong with advocating a month without alcohol. However, some concerns have been expressed by critics and alcohol rehabilitation centers over this New Year’s resolution which has gained significant popularity.
About The Dry January Campaign
In fact, the campaign has become an official event in the UK and is promoted by Alcohol Concern. More than 17,000 people signed up to show their commitment to starting 2016 with a full month of sobriety. The campaign aims to not only raise money and awareness for alcohol-related issues but also to educate people about the health benefits that accompany abstaining from alcohol. Alcohol Concern emphasizes that abstaining from alcohol helps with weight loss, aids sleep, and of course it results in you saving money. The main aim of the campaign is to change the drinking culture of modern society. In the last sixty years, the trend in alcohol consumption shows a steady increase, with estimates showing that we consume about 1.4 liters more alcohol per person than in 1975.
Therefore it is hoped that those who partake in a dry January will develop better drinking habits for the rest of the year and in fact, a recent study has shown that this was the case for about 64% of previous participants. But it is important to also keep in mind that the participants had to volunteer to go without alcohol and as such, it is not an entirely accurate reflection of the average person.
The Dangers of Dry January
Critics are also wary of the idea of a Dry January. Some say that it misleads people into thinking that one month of abstinence makes up for 11 months of heavy drinking, which is certainly not the case. It would be better to encourage moderate and controlled drinking with regular breaks all year round. This makes more sense since there are numerous studies showing the health benefits of drinking in moderation, for example, a glass of red wine with dinner is seen as having some health benefits.
Furthermore, for people who suffer from an addiction to alcohol, abstaining may have a rebound effect with potentially harmful consequences if not done under the medical supervision of an alcohol rehabilitation center. Such people may suffer withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, sleep disruption and restlessness. Heavy drinkers may even experience seizures or hallucinations. For these people, a Dry January will not have the desired effect.
It has even been suggested that participating in a Dry January could be a sign of alcohol addiction. A former alcohol addict claimed that one of the reasons it took him so long to admit that he had a drinking problem was because he managed to get through several sober Januaries despite drinking excessively for the rest of the year. This led to a deep denial since he told himself he couldn’t possibly be an addict if he could abstain from alcohol for a complete month. This line of thinking is clearly a danger to those needing professional help.
In conclusion, although the campaign is no doubt accompanied by good intentions and could have a positive impact on many lives, a dry January could be potentially dangerous for those individuals suffering from alcohol dependency and addiction. These individuals are advised to go to alcohol rehabilitation centers instead since one sober month is not enough to confront the underlying issues associated with addiction.