Dry January as a charity movement began 4 years ago when Alcohol Concern challenged the nation to put down their pints or fruity cocktails with umbrellas in them (whichever is your cup of tea) for the whole month of January.
How was Dry January created?
Dry January started when Emily Robinson, who worked for Alcohol Concern decided to give up alcohol for a month like she had done the previous year when training for the marathon. It caused so many people to ask her about it that it was obvious it was a great conversation starter and Alcohol Concern wanted to us this.
This created Dry January. Alcohol Concern rolled it out in January 2013 to try and get people talking about the dangers of alcohol. To get people to stop drinking to improve their health. 4,350 people joined in on the first official unveiling. Fast forward a couple of years and you’d be hard pushed to find someone who doesn’t know about Dry January or who haven’t claimed they are going to do it “this year”. In 2016, 1 in 6 Britons attempted Dry January. This is staggering considering how far the event has come in a few years.
It was a novel idea combining the will power of a new year and the lack of money people would have after Christmas to stop them from drinking. Coupled with the fact that it is ridiculously good for your body to go without alcohol for a month with untold health benefits, not least your liver profusely thanking you!
What’s the harm in drinking alcohol?
Alcohol misuse is defined as drinking more than lower-risk limits of alcohol consumption. This means if anyone drinks over 14 units of alcohol a week, they are technically binge drinking. This also increases their chance of damaging their health. This is something a lot of us can be guilty of without really realising.
There are varying risks to over consuming alcohol affecting you in the short and long term. The NHS state these the risks posed by over consuming alcohol –
- accidents and injuries requiring hospital treatment, such as a head injury
- violent behaviour and being a victim of violence
- unprotected sex that could potentially lead to unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- loss of personal possessions, such as wallets, keys or mobile phones
- alcohol poisoning – this may lead to vomiting, seizures (fits) and falling unconscious
- heart disease
- liver disease
- liver cancer and bowel cancer
- mouth cancer
Seriously over consuming alcohol can even lead to certain mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, hallucinations and insomnia. Giving alcohol up for a month can really help cleanse the body and give your liver a bit of a break. Who knows, a person might enjoy not drinking so much it becomes permanent.
Facts about alcohol consumption?
- 18% of people aged 16 and above in England had not had an alcoholic drink in 2014.
- Around 15% of people in the UK (aged 15+) are lifetime abstainers from alcohol.
- In England in 2014, 15% of men and 21% of women said that they had not drunk any alcohol in the last year.
- 63% of men said that their average weekly alcohol consumption was no more than 21 units, in 2014.
- In 2014, 62% of women said their alcohol consumption was no more than 14 units.
- 5% of men and 4% of women averagely consumed more than 50 units per week and 35 units per week respectively, in 2014.
- Between 2005 and 2014 in Great Britain, the number of men and women who were frequent drinkers (drank at least 5 days a week) fell. Men fell from 22% to 14%. Women fell from 13% to 8%.
- In real terms in the UK, between 2010 and 2013 household spend on alcohol fell by 5.7% and consumption outside of the home fell by 13.4%.
- Affordability of alcohol in England in 2013 was nearly 54% more affordable than it was in 1980.
- As an estimate, Households spent £7.80 in the home on alcohol, while they spent £7.40 on alcohol consumed outside of the home.
For more information on facts and figures on the consumption of alcohol, please visit the Drinkaware website.
What can you do in Dry January?
Well, the obvious answer is to give up alcohol. The whole point of Dry January is to abstain from alcohol during the month. Alcohol Concern have a sign-up form, which you can fill in to let them know you are taking the challenge.
There is also the option to use this month as a chance to fundraise for a charity close to someone’s heart. There can be many reasons why someone would want to take this challenge. They range from just wanting to be healthier to or to save money. Whatever the reason, everyone here at Ashtons wants to wish everyone taking on Dry January the very best of luck and we hope most of you make it!