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Could You Give Up Alcohol for 30 Days?

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Every January, we all attempt to give up everything that’s bad for us in a flurry of resolutions and regrets – for a week or so. Now a growing chorus of experts is touting the benefits of abstaining from alcohol for an entire month. Its called “Dry January” and its even a public health campaign in the United Kingdom.

It’s not just for people who think they have a problem. Think of it as a fun experiment, just to see how you feel after 30 days,!

A month gives people’s psyches and brains time to “feel what’s it like without alcohol in their life.  The majority of those who embark on this daunting task have reported improved mood and better sleep, and  weight-loss. Keep in mind though, one week is not going to do it.

In other words, that’s enough time to encounter a stressful day without a soothing glass of Pinot Noir or a football party without a bucket of beers. So many times, we have conditioned ourselves in thinking that alcohol is going to be the only way you know to relax or go to sleep. This throws a monkey wrench into your plan.

The most successful candidates identify coping strategies in advance, enlist social support and practice saying “no” at social events. Its helpful to make a list of things you want to accomplish during this time period, such as trying out that local crossfit box or exploring local hikes.

To help with initial cravings, you can try increasing cardiovascular exercise to help your brain adjust to the lack of alcohol. And beware of a sudden sweet tooth. That’s your brain craving glucose because you’re not giving it alcohol.

This type of sobriety isn’t designed for heavy drinkers though! If you stop completely, you can go into a coma, have a stroke or experience withdrawal symptoms. However, moderate drinkers who temporarily abstain can expect better blood pressure and liver function and fewer headaches.

The month is just a test to show yourself you’re in control and can give it up, rather than a strategy to stop drinking forever. The ultimate goal is to have a healthy alcohol intake. That’s one drink per day for women and two for men, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Here are tips for getting through the month:

Do it with a buddy! Fill your month with healthy activities in advance and say no to parties where everyone’s drinking. Instead of nightclubs and birthday parties,  plan hikes on Saturday or yoga workshops on Friday night.

If those situations are unavoidable, order a Perrier with lime or lemon. Just having something to hold can be enough, and no one really knows whether it’s a cocktail or not.

Giving up alcohol for the next 30 days can seem like a daunting task but with the support of a buddy and a plan, it is totally realistic.

Tried 30 days, alcohol free?

Let us know how it went! Who knows, you may inspire the rest of us to join you in the challenge!