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Was Dry January Worth It?

Feb 02, 2023 03:00PM ● By Diamond Jones
Dry January, the month-long challenge of abstaining from alcohol in order to reset and refresh your body and mind, has become more and more popular over the years. And for excellent reasons—it’s a great way to take a break from drinking, detox your body and give yourself some much-needed rest. But is Dry January really worth it? We explore this question in our latest blog post. We look at all the potential benefits of taking part in Dry January and how it can help you develop healthier habits that will last long beyond the month itself.

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What is dry January?

Dry January is an annual event where people give up alcohol for the month of January. The idea is to reset your body after the festive period and to improve your health. Many people also use Dry January as a way to save money. Dry January encourages people to take a break from drinking for the month of January and beyond. It has grown in popularity since it was first launched in 2013. The event is not only about abstaining from alcohol, but also about exploring different ways to enjoy life without drinking. This could include taking part in sober activities such as yoga or going for a run. It can also be a time to reflect on your relationship with alcohol and think about how it affects you and those around you.

Effects of alcohol

Though the jury is still out on whether or not Dry January is an effective way to reset your relationship with alcohol for the long term, there are some benefits that come from taking a break from drinking. For one, you’re likely to sleep better and have more energy if you’re not hungover. You may also lose weight, as alcohol is high in calories. And you may save money, as alcohol can be a budget-buster.

But what about the more serious effects of alcohol? Over time, excessive drinking can lead to a number of health problems, including:

1. Liver disease: Drinking large amounts of alcohol over a long period of time can damage your liver and lead to cirrhosis, which is the permanent scarring of the liver. This can lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin), nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. 

2. Heart disease: Long-term excessive drinking can also increase your risk for high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and other forms of cardiovascular disease.

3. Cancer: Alcohol has been linked to cancers in the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast.

4. Mental health issues: Prolonged alcohol abuse can contribute to anxiety and depression as well as increase the risk of suicide. It can also cause memory lapses and impair judgment leading to dangerous behaviors such as driving while intoxicated or engaging in risky sexual activities.

5. Addiction: Excessive drinking can lead to physical dependence on alcohol which leads to cravings and withdrawal symptoms when not drinking. 


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Alcohol in the Black Community 

African-Americans drink less alcohol than their White counterparts, but their health problems are more likely to be associated with alcohol. African-American drinkers are 1.27 times more likely to die from conditions such as cirrhosis. Additionally, African-Americans die at a “10% higher” rate from alcohol abuse, despite overall lower alcohol consumption. Alcohol brands are twice as likely to advertise to African-Americans than other ethnic groups. To make matter worse, younger people in the Black community are more likely to be exposed to alcohol through, tv, social media, and entertainment. The result is often young, vulnerable African-Americans becoming curious about alcohol or trying it for the first time. The younger someone drinks, the more likely they are to suffer an alcohol abuse disorder in adulthood.

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Challenges of Dry January  

Participating in Dry January can be a great way to take some time to reflect on your relationship with alcohol and make some changes in your lifestyle. However, it can be challenging to stay on track. Some of the common challenges you may face include the temptation of drinks at social events, the cravings for drinks when you're feeling stressed or anxious, and the difficulty of adjusting to a new routine without alcohol. To make it easier, try to find non-alcoholic alternatives to your favorite drinks, plan enjoyable non-alcohol-related activities to do with friends and family, and practice mindfulness techniques to help manage cravings and stress.

Participating in Dry January can lead to more healthy decisions

The benefits of not drinking alcohol for a month are significant. Your liver gets a break from processing alcohol, which can help it function better overall. You may also lose weight, sleep better, have more energy, and save money. Here's a quick breakdown of some benefits. 

  1. Improved sleep quality - As alcohol is a stimulant, avoiding it can lead to better quality sleep.

  2. Decreased risk of certain cancers – The World Health Organization recommends limiting alcohol consumption to reduce the risk of certain cancers.

  3. Increased energy levels – Without alcohol to slow down the body, you can enjoy more energy during the day.

  4. Improved digestion – Alcohol can lead to digestive issues such as heartburn, so avoiding it can help to improve digestion.

  5. Improved mental well-being – Taking a break from alcohol can help to reduce stress and anxiety and improve concentration.

In addition to abstaining from alcohol, Dry January is a great opportunity to make other healthy decisions. For example, you could try eating healthier foods or exercising more often. Making these kinds of adjustments can help you create healthier habits that will last throughout the year.

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 Diamond Jones joined the FunTimes family as an intern while earning her Bachelor's degree from Temple University. After graduating in 2018, Diamond decided to stay with FunTimes continuing her role as a writer and content creator for social media. In addition to writing, she also enjoys reading, traveling, and art. Working at a magazine has always been a dream. As a child, she would collect and study popular entertainment publications such as Word Up and Teen Vogue. Diamond hopes to continue to create content that will inspire and entertain. 

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