BritGigglesWhy I'm Signing Up To Dry JanuaryLiza Baron

Us Brits have a bit of reputation as problem drinkers, don’t we? While much of mainland Europe has a vibe of being chilled-out, leisurely partakers of the odd glass of a sophisticated vintage with a meal; Britain is more often depicted for its binge drinking and related behaviours.

Which, in fact, is a fair depiction in many ways. (Cue the scary/boring stats bit – you can skip this section if you like). A quick glance of the Alcohol Concern website shocked me more than the news of the Royal pregnancy. Basically, I guessed as much, but it’s different to see it laid out in print.

10 million adults in England alone drink more than the recommended daily limit – and 2.6 million drink more than twice this limit. Alcohol-related cost to the NHS is in the region of £2.7 billion a year. It’s not just youngsters, or even middle-agers enjoying too much wine at home; this article from Alcohol Concern in October outlines the worrying figures about the drinking habits of the ‘baby boomer’ generation – now in the 55-74 age group.

Anyway, those are the figures. But what about the figures? Alcohol is bad for the waistline, bad for the skin, bad for the hair. Not hot. I recently lost some weight (thank you, 30 Day Shred), but can’t quite meet my weight-loss goal. Maybe the wine-related calories are to blame?

Dry January

Dry January is, well, what is says on the tin. It’s organised by Alcohol Concern to encourage people to take a break from drinking, and challenge the reasons why we drink in the first place.

Me? Of course I like to drink. I’m far less likely these days to be found stumbling in the street outside a nightclub at 3am – but instead you may find me on my 3rd glass of wine on a weeknight catch-up with friends. Or fifth drink, plus a shot, on a Friday night in the pub before getting round to dinner.

Can I go for days, or even weeks, at a time without drinking – and not even notice? Yes.

Do I find it easy to refuse to a glass of wine with dinner? No.

Have I ever ’rounded down’ my average weekly unit intake when asked in a routine appointment with a doctor? Yes.

I have decided to sign-up because I want to make sure my relationship with alcohol is healthy – and, of course, to reach that weight-loss goal. I’ve put some more reasons to give it a try below but please don’t think I’m trying to preach – far from it. I just think it’s a neat idea and a chance to take control -  HelloGiggles champions individuals who take responsibility for their own lives (with kick-ass nails while they do it). I want to be sure I’m living up to that.

Reasons to Sign Up

  • Raise money – you can set up a sponsorship page and raise money for Alcohol Concern.
  • Save money –  January is always a tight month for the ol’ finances, and booze ain’t cheap. OK, so you might want to donate money saved to Alcohol Concern, but you don’t have to.
  • Lose weight
  • Help your skin – the sugar in alcohol has an ageing effect on the skin, which not only means wrinkles develop more easily but spots take longer to heal.
  • Be productive – just think what you can do if you don’t wake up hungover on a Sunday morning?
  • Manage stress – We often drink when we feel stressed. The long-term physical effects of too much alcohol make us feel more stressed. So we drink more.
  • Challenge yourself – it’s mind over matter (possibly literally).

Worries

Wow, I can only think of three (well…it’s kind of two really) reasons against signing up to Dry January – but they sure are powerful.

  • Social – will I be boring?
  • Social – will drinkers around me be annoying?
  • Failure – what if I can’t do it? Will I then have to face up to something more worrying about my drinking habits?

So, that’s it from me on the matter. I’ll be writing about it on my blog – but would love to hear from anyone else thinking of going for it – leave a comment below or get in touch on Twitter.

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  1. In September I did ‘Super September’ where I didn’t drink or smoke for the whole month. I managed to stay off the ciggies (with a few slip ups), and not drinking actually encouraged me to get healthy in other ways too – I started to exercise more and eat more healthily too. Since then I have been drinking again but just sticking to the red wine which I know is much better than beer or spirits for example. Quite keen to give this another go in January too – I’m in!

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