Dry January

Dry January

December 28, 2023

Woman declining alcohol

estimated read time - 19 min

Welcome to Dry January—a month-long challenge to skip alcohol to detox and focus on ways to heal your body. Explore when and how Dry January started, tips for success, and why it's good for you.  

Come along for the journey—discover what Dry January's all about and how it could kickstart a healthier you!


What is Dry January

No Alcohol Sign

No Alcohol Sign

Dry January is a month-long health initiative where individuals abstain from consuming alcohol for the entirety of January. Its goal is to promote wellness, raise awareness about alcohol consumption's effects on health, and foster healthier habits.

When Did Dry January Start

Alcohol Change UK introduced the inaugural "Dry January" campaign in the United Kingdom in January 2013. Around 4,000 individuals reportedly joined this initiative, marking the campaign's initial success. From there it slowly spread through health and wellness groups in the Western nations.

Who Started Dry January

In January 2011, Emily Robinson committed to a booze-free month ahead of a February marathon. Experiencing weight loss, increased energy, and improved sleep, she was motivated to spread the word. The following January, she joined Alcohol Concern (now Alcohol Change UK) and opted for another alcohol hiatus. This pivotal moment sparked the inception of the Dry January campaign.

When Does Dry January Start

Dry January kicks off on January 1st and extends throughout the entire month. Participants are challenged to avoid alcohol for 31 days, fostering a healthier relationship with drinking habits. It serves as a perfect opportunity for a fresh start and a mindful approach to health, especially after the holidays.

How to Do Dry January

Man declining a drink from friend

Man Refusing a Drink

Steps for success in embarking on Dry January:

  • Set clear goals, like improving health by dropping 5 lbs, or resetting habits for clarity and focus. People with clear goals and reasons for these goals are significantly mroe likely to be successful

  • Inform people around you. Share your Dry January commitment with friends and ask for their understanding and support during social gatherings.

  • Plan alternatives. Look for non-alcohol alternatives in socializing to minimize drinking temptations.

  • Stay accountable by utilizing apps or joining supportive communities for accountability and encouragement.

  • Explore non-alcohol options such as non-alcoholic beverages or other wellness drinks.

  • Engage in new hobbies to keep yourself distracted and occupy leisure time positively.

Why Dry January

Woman Spreading Her Arms

Woman Spreading Her Arms in Front of Sea

Participating in this campaign offers numerous benefits. From financial savings to positive changes in habits and well-being.

Is Dry January Good for You

Dry January can be beneficial for many people. It offers a chance to reset habits, improve health, and reassess one's relationship with alcohol. It often leads to better sleep, increased energy, weight management, and a clearer mind.

What Does Dry January Do to Your Body

Skipping alcohol for a month can not only help give you a better sleep and clear mind, it also helps aid weight management by reducing binge-like calorie intake and enhancing hydration levels, leading to clearer skin and better digestion. Plus, it can boost your mood and make you feel better overall.

Does Dry January Help Your Liver

Alcohol consumption can strain the liver, leading to conditions like fatty liver disease, inflammation, and liver damage. By abstaining from alcohol, the liver gets a chance to recover and repair itself. This break allows for a reduction in fat accumulation, inflammation, and oxidative stress, promoting better liver function and overall health. Abstaining from alcohol supports the liver's natural detoxification processes.

Does Dry January Make You Healthier

In essence, engaging in Dry January provides a significant health advantage. This commitment supports your body in recharging and repairing from alcohol's adverse impacts, potentially aiding weight loss, enhancing sleep quality, and improving focus.

Why is Dry January a Thing

People Chatting

People Chatting

Dry January has evolved into a popular annual tradition for several reasons. It serves as a catalyst for individuals looking to recalibrate their relationship with alcohol, promoting a healthier lifestyle. It raises awareness about the effects of alcohol consumption on health, encouraging mindful drinking habits. With its positive impact on overall well-being, Dry January has gained momentum as a means to kickstart healthier habits and promote a more balanced life.

Does Dry January Work

The success of Dry January depends on each person's dedication and goals. Numerous individuals achieved success in this month-long alcohol-free challenge. Successful experiences frequently involve defining clear goals, seeking community support, and embracing healthier alternatives. Ultimately, it all comes down to personal commitment and a mindful mindset.

Does Dry January Include Weed

Dry January typically focuses on abstaining from alcohol for a month to reap health benefits. However, it doesn't have a strict rule about cannabis or weed. Some participants choose to avoid all substances, including marijuana, during this period for a holistic cleanse. Others may continue to use weed while abstaining from alcohol. The primary goal of Dry January is to reset habits related to alcohol consumption, but whether or not to include weed is a personal choice for participants.

Is Dry January Hard

Woman Smiling While Looking at Her Phone

Woman Smiling While Looking at Her Phone

It can be tough for some folks, but not for everyone. It depends on the person. Skipping alcohol for a whole month might be tricky because of habits or situations with friends. But lots of people find ways to make it work. Setting goals, getting support from pals or online groups, and trying non-alcoholic drinks can make it easier.

Why Dry January Is (can be) Bad for You

While this campaign boasts numerous health benefits, it might not suit everyone. For some, abrupt cessation of alcohol can trigger withdrawal symptoms, impacting mental health. Additionally, a rigid approach can lead to feelings of deprivation, potentially resulting in binge drinking afterward. Moreover, if someone has underlying health conditions or addiction issues, sudden abstinence without proper guidance can be risky.

Does Dry January Make You Tired

Some people might initially experience fatigue or tiredness as the body adjusts to the absence of alcohol. This temporary tiredness can stem from disrupted sleep patterns, changes in hydration levels, or adjustments in energy metabolism. However, as the month progresses, many individuals report improved sleep quality and increased energy levels due to better hydration and healthier habits. It's a transitional phase, and maintaining a balanced diet and staying hydrated can mitigate these temporary feelings of tiredness during this alcohol-free period.

Non-Alcoholic Drinks for Dry January

Three People Having Lunch

Three People Having Lunch

Seeking healthy alternatives to alcohol offers various options for a balanced lifestyle.

  • Mocktails, crafted from fresh ingredients, replicate the taste of cocktails without alcohol's effects.
  • Herbal elixirs like kava or kratom provide relaxation and a social experience minus intoxication.
  • Non-alcoholic beers or wines offer familiar flavors without alcohol's impact.
  • Additionally, exploring alcohol-free spirits, calming teas, or engaging in mindful activities like yoga or meditation serves as healthy alternatives.


Can Dry January make you ill?

Participating in Dry January may lead to discomfort due to withdrawal symptoms from alcohol for some habitual drinkers. These can include headaches, irritability, mental instability, or sleep disturbances, but it's generally a short-term adjustment. However, heavy drinkers should exercise caution as sudden abstinence from alcohol can cause heavy anxiety, seizures, hallucinations, tremors, or even death.


Dry January has emerged as a powerful initiative, fostering a reevaluation of alcohol habits while promoting holistic well-being. This month-long commitment often leads to numerous health benefits such as improved sleep, enhanced mental clarity, mood stabilization, better liver function, weight loss and easier weight management.

While it isn’t without its challenges—some may find it tough to navigate social situations—its positive impacts on health and lifestyle are significant. By setting clear goals, seeking support, and exploring healthier alternatives, individuals can successfully navigate this period of abstaining from alcohol.

It is also crucial to recognize that Dry January might not suit everyone, particularly those with underlying health conditions or addiction issues. For some, sudden abstinence might trigger withdrawal symptoms or feelings of deprivation, potentially leading to binge drinking afterward.

Ultimately, Dry January's success hinges on individual dedication and approach. It serves as a catalyst for promoting mindfulness around alcohol consumption, encouraging healthier habits, and offering an opportunity for a fresh start towards a balanced and mindful lifestyle.

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