One of the things I enjoy about starting the New Year is the opportunity of setting new challenges and personal goals. It is not uncommon to have a new year’s resolution on the things you want to do, to achieve a new height in your life.
In the UK over the last ten years, January has been an opportunity for people to challenge themselves to stay off alcohol for the whole month called Dry January. I see it (dry January) as an opportunity for anyone that have alcohol drinking problem to take back control of their life.
I understand this may be difficult for some people considering the restriction to social life in the last few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and most recently, the warning giving following the rise in omicron variant. Some people have called for the dry January challenge to be scrapped due to the impact it will have to the hospitality industry.
Overall, I see dry January as good and very important for the people that will benefit most from it, because the effects of harmful drinking and alcohol dependence which includes short term harm such as accidents, drowning which can lead to sudden death, longer term health problems such as cancers, liver and heart problems and mental health issues.
A person’s social life can also be negatively impacted such as domestic violence and other family conflicts can arise due to alcohol misuse. Drinking in pregnancy can have adverse effect on the unborn child. So, with all this in mind it is vital people take responsibility to make a change and take back control of their life. If you are not sure or want to know if you have alcohol drinking problem, you can complete a test here and we will advise you by sending you an email.
There are lots of options on how to take part in dry January challenge and many of these options are available online if you search on google but I think you should have a strategy how you want to go about it, which can lead you to setting your own personal goals. These may include:
- Recognizing and avoiding those red-flags situations for drinking.
- Recognizing personal cues for drinking (for example stress and being alone).
- Drinking a soft drink for every alcoholic drink, and eating before drinking.
- Trying alternative activities to drinking (coping strategies) — exercise, reading, and exploring other interests.
- Keeping a drinking diary and asking close contacts for help (if acceptable).
“As a friend once told me, every change is painful, but it is a sign there is growth happening”. I believe everyone has the capability to do whatever they put their mind to achieve in life. You can get personalised health advice if you register a profile here and have access to an online GP anytime you want.