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Dry January 2023 ~ Hit Pause on Alcohol to Boost Your Well-Being

Dec 30, 2022 07:35AM ● By Karli Newman
A person holding their hand next to a drink, making a stop motion.

Алексей Филатов/Getty Images

The concept of abstaining from alcohol during the first month of the year has been around for decades. In 2012, when Alcohol Change UK branded it as Dry January, the movement started to grow. Now millions around the globe participate.

Dry January is a wellness initiative that continues to rise in popularity. According to CGA, a food and drink research firm, 35 percent of U.S. adults of legal drinking age participated in 2022—a 14 percent increase over the 21 percent of participants in 2019.

So, why are people participating, and how is it affecting them?


People choose to participate in Dry January for a variety of reasons—from the desire to improve physical health to finding new social connections to forming a different relationship with alcohol. Whatever the reason, both moderate and heavy drinkers can reap rewards by taking a month-long break.

A respite from imbibing provides an opportunity to evaluate how alcohol affects the mind and body. Here are several benefits experienced by those participating in Dry January:

1. Improved sleep quality and energy.

The body’s process of metabolizing alcohol typically results in disturbed sleep. Falling asleep may happen quickly, but sleep is often disrupted once the body has eliminated the alcohol. Dry January offers the chance to get more restful sleep and boost daytime energy levels.

2. Reduced body weight.

Alcoholic drinks can contain more calories than people realize. By eliminating alcohol, those missing calories may result in lost weight.

3. Improved physical health.

Research shows that abstaining from alcohol decreases the levels of oxidative stress in the liver, and improves insulin resistance and blood pressure.

4. Healthier drinking habits after Dry January.

After a month of finding substitutions for go-to drinks and typical social situations, it is easier for participants to continue their newfound habits beyond January. Feelings of enhanced health and wellness are also incentives to drink less once Dry January ends.     

5. Reduced spending.

Dry January puts money back in the bank. Think of the savings from lower restaurant bills over a month’s time!

It may pay dividends to eliminate alcohol during January, but it can also put current habits and thought processes to the test.

Thrive Through the Challenge

For some, Dry January may be a struggle. For others, it may not be a drastic change. Regardless of the difficulty level, it may be helpful to reference the following tips to be successful and get the most out of the experience:

1. A late start is still a start.

Not everyone can begin on January 1. The good news is that today is also a perfect day to start!

2. Notice current habits to form new ones.

Pay attention to situations and relationships that revolve around alcohol. Decide in advance how to change behavior to honor the intentions of Dry January and experience the benefits.

3. Use available resources to be successful.

Download an app to track results and build community. Join a sober-curious group to form a new social circle. Enlist a friend or family member to help with accountability. 

4. Keep going.

Slip-ups happen; if they do, practice self-kindness and start again tomorrow. Go beyond January (to February 4) to make a full five weeks alcohol-free. Recognize progress and allow new habits to continue further into 2023.

5. Make it fun!

Ask a friend or family member to participate. Explore nonalcoholic alternatives and mocktail recipes. Serve nonalcoholic drinks in festive glasses. Create new social situations that don’t involve alcohol but do involve friends and enjoyable activities.

6. Recognize the potential for problems and get help if they arise.

Depending on how much alcohol is normally consumed, Dry January may reveal alcohol problems, such as withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms may range from mild to severe and can include headaches, anxiety, tremors, insomnia, mood changes, hallucinations, seizures and more.

At its heart, Dry January is a way to explore one’s relationship with alcohol. For those who want to make changes but find it difficult, the support of a healthcare professional, therapist or group can ease the burden.

Time to Decide

Dry January 2023 is likely to see an increase in participation over 2022. This initiative is changing how people think about alcohol’s place in their lives and creating an opportunity for enhanced health and well-being.

Are you hitting “pause” on alcohol and “play” on Dry January?

Wellness coach Karli Newman works with women over 40 to help them build a foundation of whole-life wellness. Visit to learn more about her services.