Give up alcohol for a month to improve your health

Nick Hayes

After the holiday season, it’s commonplace to abstain from alcohol for some time. The festive season is a complex time for many, and alcohol is widely accepted as a method of managing holiday stress. Evan casual and social drinkers find themselves drinking more than usual during the holiday. Whether you began a Dry January, started later in the month, or are starting in February, there are health and societal benefits, and it helps you re-evaluate your drinking habits. Fortunately, there are practical approaches you can use to make this a success.

Initially, the health benefits are significant. You will find yourself sleeping better, having more energy, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and more money. You’ll notice you may lose weight, have clearer skin, and feel less depressed, anxious, and stressed. Overall, your mental and physical well-being will significantly improve.

Moreover, it helps you re-evaluate your drinking habits if you feel it got out of hand over the holidays. Consider asking yourself if alcohol is used as a tool to cope with stressful situations. Do you find yourself feeling stressed without alcohol, or have your drinking habits impacted your relationships or your professional life? If the answer is yes, consider a month of not drinking alcohol.

Finally, most importantly, you remove any chance of driving while impaired. Abstaining from alcohol is the backbone of effective drunk driving prevention. Statistically, impairment by drugs and alcohol is involved in more than half of fatal crashes in Washington State. Roughly 32% of deadly crashes in the state involved alcohol-positive drivers.

It can seem like an uphill battle to begin this exercise, but there are practical approaches you can use to make it a success.

Create a supporting environment where you know you will succeed. Thoroughly purge all the booze around you; either dump it, hide it, or give it away. Moreover, find a suitable non-alcoholic drink for social situations.

Recruit a friend or family member to participate and help avoid temptations. Not only will you support one another, but you can also plan activities that do not involve alcohol, and you can speak about the successes and challenges of abstaining from alcohol.

Stay busy and active and take this time to focus on your mental and physical well-being; take advantage of having more energy and sleeping better. Utilize Dry January or sobriety apps that will help you track your progress and find practical ways to hold yourself accountable.

During the month, you will begin to lose alcohol cravings, and you may realize alcohol does not need to take up such ample space in your life. If the benefits make you feel great physically and mentally, consider continuing for another 30 days. Embrace your new attitude to alcohol use.

Nickolaus Hayes is a healthcare professional in the field of substance use and addiction recovery and is part of the editorial team at DRS. His primary focus is spreading awareness by educating individuals on the topics surrounding substance use.