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Alcohol Awareness: Navigating Dry January for a Balanced and Healthier Life

January 25, 2024

Alcohol Awareness: Navigating Dry January for a Balanced and Healthier Life

As January draws to a close, let's take a moment to reflect on the successes of Dry January and explore the health benefits associated with increased alcohol awareness. According to a survey conducted by Alcohol Change UK, the organisation behind Dry January,  one in six UK adults (16%) plan to take a break from alcohol this January. This is estimated at 8.5 million people. This shift towards heightened alcohol awareness is a positive step that opens the door to improved overall wellbeing and a revitalised body.

Understanding Alcohol's Impact on the Body


Any alcohol consumption can compromise kidney functioning and hinder the regulation of body fluids. Chronic alcoholic abuse can lead to deficiencies in key nutrients that may cause severe difficulties for the liver, heart, and hormonal and digestive systems. It is also associated with stroke and several cancers, including mouth, throat and breast cancers.​


Alcohol also acts as a depressant on the central nervous system, resembling a sedative or tranquiliser, slowing your motor coordination and reaction times. Long-term usage has been linked to depression, memory loss and cognitive impairment. ​

Short-term Effect of Alcohol Consumption:


  • Disturbed sleep and sleeplessness​
  • Feeling stressed​
  • Memory loss or blackouts​
  • Sweating​
  • Shaking​
  • Loss of appetite​
  • Stomach problems​
  • Anxiety​
  • An impaired judgement which can lead to accidents and injuries​

Long-term Effects of Alcohol Consumption:


  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Hepatitis
  • Dementia
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Mood Swings
  • Kidney Failure
  • Gastritis
  • Stomach Ulcers

Alcohol Guidelines

It is recommended that both men and women incorporate several drink-free days into the week, avoiding the practice of "saving up" units for specific days. It's crucial to note that there is no universally "safe" drinking level, and a "low-risk" threshold is identified at 14 units or less per week. To put this into perspective, 14 units roughly equate to consuming approximately six pints of beer, four large glasses of wine, or four large measures of spirits. Staying within these guidelines helps promote a healthier and balanced approach to alcohol consumption.

Strategies for Reducing Alcohol Intake


  • Identify Your Triggers - Recognise personal triggers for drinking and implement coping strategies in advance.
  • No Alcohol in the House - Replace drinking as a de-stress activity with alternatives such as a walk with friends, a relaxing bath, or a new hobby.
  • Alternative Drinks - Explore low/no alcohol versions of products like 0% alcohol cider/beer.
  • Stay Hydrated – Drink water before you start drinking and alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks 
  • Find a Support Network - Organise an alcohol-free month with friends or family.
  • Financial Incentives - Set aside money usually spent on alcohol for personal treats or savings.


Cutting down on alcohol doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying yourself!

Helpful Resources:

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol dependency, help is available.​

Consider speaking to your GP, or you can find more information and support from the following organisations:​

Dry January | Alcohol Change UK​


NHS Alcohol Support

Drink Coach