INDIANAPOLIS — Each year, thousands of Americans kick off their new year resolutions by having a “Dry January.” One month, no alcohol, for many it’s a good way to spring into the new year with a fresh start. This year, however, that’s changing a little.
According to a survey by the American Addiction Centers, 28% of people say they’re less likely to give up alcohol in the new year. Most respondents said it was because they were already spending less time out drinking with friends.
But, with a global pandemic still raging, the events of the January 6th riot at the Capitol still fresh, and the possibility of more drama during inauguration week, many people who were planning on a dry January have been taking to social media saying they’re now giving up on it.
Dr. Lauren Nephew with IU Health says she understands why people may feel the need for the occasional drink or two, especially now, but adds that anytime is a good time to take a break from alcohol and 30 days with no booze, can do wonders for your body and mind.
“It can be things like improved sleep, less anxiety, alcohol is a downer, a depressant and so you may see improvement in your mood. Alcohol has a lot of calories, and we mix it with coke and other fruity drinks. People consume less calories when they have a month of sobriety and so we see weight loss. That weight loss can impact your liver health and your cardiovascular health, even a month cutting those calories can help to remove some of that fat from the liver,” she said.
Nephew points out the liver is one of the only body parts that can regenerate. One month without alcohol can do its part in aiding that regeneration. Beyond the health benefits, Nephew says taking a break from alcohol could be a good self-diagnostic test.
“It’s a good opportunity to take a survey of how much do you need it? How hard was it to give up alcohol for that month? If it was extremely difficult then you may need to reflect on that. And try to find some alternatives to your stress relief. So, it’s a good opportunity to take a survey of our drinking. After a challenging year, where are we?
While Nephew says it’s a good idea for anyone to try, she adds people who drink the heaviest tend to see the biggest benefit.
For those struggling with alcoholism you can call the AA hotline at 1-866-859-5314