dry january

Dry January – The sense and nonsense of not drinking for a month

Every year in January millions of people around the world quit alcohol. This is how this group of people starts the new year with a sober, fresh start. But what does such a month without alcohol actually do to you? And what if you already find a day without alcohol difficult? You can read all about it in this article.

Conscious about alcohol use

A little sobering up after a busy holiday season. That's what Dry January is for: no alcohol for the whole of January. The campaign was created to make people more aware of their alcohol consumption. The Dutch version of Dry January is called 'IkPas'.

Dry January for most people means taking on a challenge with yourself. You don't drink alcohol for a month to see what it does to you. You become more aware of the choice you can make whether or not to drink, you break through entrenched patterns and alcohol is no longer a matter of course. But what about people who struggle with alcohol addiction?

Dry January and alcohol addiction

Dry January can be a step in the right direction for many people. But how do you turn a month without alcohol into a year without alcohol? And ultimately a life without alcohol? For people with an alcohol addiction that sometimes seems unthinkable. Not drinking for a day can be quite a task. 

Quitting alcohol from one day to the next may be possible through willpower and perseverance. But over time, it's hard not to fall back in old habits. That is why it is important to allow yourself small steps. So instead of "I'm never going to drink alcohol again", it's better to choose to reduce the frequency first. "I don't drink alcohol today." And you try again the next day. One more day every day. 

The short- and long-term effects of quitting alcohol

It may sound weird to say that you should start with just one day. But even a day without alcohol can bring you a lot of good. Not only for your body but also your mental health. In mild to moderate drinkers, the body quickly starts detoxing. 

However, if you have consumed alcohol excessively for a long time, you may experience withdrawal symptoms. These are not only violent but can also be dangerous. If the withdrawal is indeed severe, we recommend that you see a doctor. Stopping drinking without supervision can be fatal in severe alcohol addiction.

Nevertheless, a short alcohol stop (if performed safely) already provides many positives. In the first week you will sleep better, you will feel mentally and physically fitter and you will notice that your skin is recovering. You will also think more clearly so that you are less likely to run into social problems such as irritation or aggressiveness. 

If you keep it up longer, a lot will happen in your body. Your resistance improves so that you get sick less often. Since the liver has regenerative capacities, alcohol withdrawal allows the organ to recover. Fatty liver is gradually decreasing. If liver cirrhosis has developed, that is unfortunately irreversible, although you can limit further damage by not drinking anymore. 

You also increase your fertility, you can concentrate better, your teeth are less affected and feelings of depression and anxiety decrease in many people. 

Need help with Dry January and beyond?

So there is a lot to be gained from not drinking for a month. But we also understand that this can be a difficult challenge. And that it can be even harder to maintain this for the rest of your life. Especially after a lot of alcohol abuse. In addition, it is not recommended for alcohol addicts to just stop from one day to the next, as the withdrawal symptoms can be very severe. That is why it is important to get the right help. Do you need help during Dry January or after? Please contact us. 

At Castle Craig, we have over 20 years of experience treating patients who are addicted to alcohol. Help begins with a detoxification period. Followed by Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It is a proven method to prevent addiction relapse. CBT aims to challenge negative thoughts and is used to help alcoholics to abstain from alcohol and other substances.

Check the page about 'Our Treatments'for more information about our various alcohol addiction programs.