One in 10 drinkers in the North East and around 4.2million people in the UK are planning to ditch alcohol for Dry January 2019, according to a YouGov poll.
Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, and Northumberland County Council are urging friends, families and work colleagues to take on the 2019 Dry January challenge as figures show around 180,000 North East drinkers took part last January.
People who take a month off the booze can look forward to feeling healthier, saving money, sleeping better and losing a few pounds.
But many Dry January participants also report benefits all year round with more drink-free days and drinking less when they do drink.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Drinking can often creep up on people into a daily habit and more than one in four people in the North East are drinking above the guidelines of 14 units a week.
“We’re encouraging people to get family, friends and colleagues on board too. It can be a real motivating factor taking on a challenge together and we know that it can make us more likely to succeed.
“Every year it feels like more and more people we know are taking part in Dry January. It is a chance to break the feeling of relying on a drink, give our bodies a chance to recover and to feel fitter. But it is great to see so many people feeling the benefits well beyond January and still drinking less than they were six months on.”
Coun Veronica Jones, cabinet member for adult wellbeing and health at Northumberland County Council, said: “January is the perfect time to make a healthy start to the year ahead.
“We’re urging Northumberland residents to have a go at reducing the amount of alcohol they drink and enjoy all the benefits that will bring.”
The council’s director of public health, Liz Morgan, added: “By going dry for just one month, people can change their relationship with alcohol.
“Alcohol is a risk factor for many aspects of poor health like cancer, high blood pressure and depression but there is also an easy way to reduce this risk – reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.
“This great campaign will again urge people to think about how much they drink and help them to stay off alcohol for a month. It’s a good way to change drinking habits for the better after the month is over and a really effective way of helping people to do something positive about their own health.”
People who sign up to Dry January are more likely to make it through to the end of the month without drinking. People can sign up at dryjanuary.org.uk or by downloading the new app, Try Dry: The DryJanuary app, via the App Store or Google Play. The app allows people to track units, calories and money saved not drinking, plus track their drinking year-round.
Dr Richard Piper, CEO of Alcohol Change UK, said: “Put simply, Dry January can change lives. We hear every day from people who took charge of their drinking using Dry January, and who feel healthier and happier as a result.”
Here are some top reasons for taking part and tips for seeing Dry January through to the end:
1. You might feel like drink is creeping up on you. Eight out of 10 people who took part in Dry January 2018 said it made them think more about their relationship with drink and felt more in control of their drinking.
2. You could feel brighter, fitter and more alert in January. January can be a depressing month but 7/10 people who took part this year said they felt they had more energy and slept better.
3. Cutting out the booze can boost your appearance. A month off can mean losing weight and better skin.
4. Ask yourself, do you really need a drink? 7/10 people who took a month off last January said it made them realise they don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves.
5. Take part with a friend and spur each other on.
6. Tell your friends and family you’re doing Dry January and ask them to support you.