Dry January: 6 Ways Your Body Transforms When You Give Up Alcohol
If you were searching for alcoholism recovery or ways to reduce your alcohol intake, then giving up drinking for 31 days might seem like a viable option. Dry January began in 2013 and has grown into more of a movement. Reducing alcohol intake is a good idea for anyone looking to improve their health. Many people sign up for Dry January knowing they will return to their regular drinking routine and treat it as a cleanse or alcohol detox. Others use it as a testament that they can refrain from drinking. Some begin to enjoy the benefits of sobriety and remain sober beyond the 31st day of Dry January.
Included below are some of the benefits you may receive by participating in Dry January 2023:
1. Healthier Skin
Alcohol addiction can make your skin lackluster. Alcohol dehydrates you and interrupts your sleep regimen. Have you ever woken up looking your best after an all-night bender? Probably not. Depending on the severity of your alcohol intake, you may even experience some jaundice if the alcohol is beginning to harm your liver. Alcohol cause your skin to become dehydrated and deprives it of essential nutrients, making it appear dull and dry. Alcohol also makes your skin more susceptible to sun damage, which can create wrinkles and make you appear much older than you are. Thankfully your skin is resilient and can repair itself after eliminating alcohol from your routine. You won’t even have to wait until the end of Dry January to see the positive effects, and most people begin to see improvement in their skin and coloring after just one week of alcohol-free.
Many people’s New Year’s resolution is weight loss related. You may have cleaned out the snacks from the cabinets and emptied the ice cream from your freezer, but have you ever considered how many calories you consume while drinking? The average amount of calories in a martini is about 150-200 calories, a margarita is around 300, beer is 150, and wine is 120, and most likely, you have more than one of whatever your drink of choice is. Drinking also lowers your inhibitions, so even if you are a healthy eater, when you consume alcohol, you are more likely to indulge in eating saltier junk food. Think about it…when was the last time you left a bar and craved a salad? Why consume all these empty calories in alcoholic beverages when you can put down the drink and use those calories for nutritious food? Even if you didn’t initially enter Dry January to lose weight, you would see the weight fall if you cut down on the booze.
3. Improved Sleep
We’ve all heard people say they need that cocktail or wine to unwind after a long day. It may initially make you feel relaxed and tired, but it won’t help you get a decent night’s sleep. Alcohol negatively impacts your Circadian clock, so even if you come home from the bar and pass out, your sleep won’t be REM sleep, which is why you still wake up feeling exhausted. If alcohol has become part of your bedtime ritual, then the initial transition period will be challenging. Alcohol also lowers the melatonin in your body, so you may want to research some supplements. Once you’ve gotten the alcohol out of your system and your bedtime routine, you’ll eventually be able to fall asleep quicker and get quality zzz’s, allowing you to be awake, refreshed, and ready for the day!
4. Increased Immunity
Illnesses tend to peak between December and February, so it’s a good idea to increase your immunity during January. Consuming alcohol lowers our body’s immune response making you more susceptible to getting sick. If you drink regularly, you are already not receiving the appropriate amount of nutrients, and it reduces your white blood cell count simultaneously. While your drink alcohol regularly, you’re much more likely to contract the flu, Covid-19, common cold, pneumonia, RSV, or other illnesses.
5. No Hangovers!
How many times have you said, “I’m never drinking again”? Most of the time, it’s probably due to waking up with an intense hangover consisting of an extreme migraine, dehydration, and vomiting. When you eliminate alcohol, you also eliminate all the hangover symptoms that come with it.
6. Better Mood
Sometimes alcohol can bring out the worst in us. Even if you are usually in a good mood, alcohol can cause you to feel pessimistic or depressed. Ethanol, one of the main ingredients in alcohol, tends to lead to hangovers, negative emotions, exhaustion, and mood swings. If you’re not looking for alcohol to run your day, you’ll feel more motivated, and your overall mood will be more stable. Do something for yourself that gives you endorphins, like taking a yoga class or running.
How Do You Give Up Alcohol?
Committing to 31 days of living alcohol-free might seem like a challenging task. Especially when all your friends and colleagues still choose to drink and your social engagements include alcohol. But Dry January can be easier than you think if you follow these helpful hints:
- Detox your home of all alcohol
- Grab a Dry January partner
- Set up a sober activity schedule for yourself (movies, yoga, coffee dates)
- Drink more water
- Track your progress on paper
- Read books about addiction and recovery
What Happens If You’re More than A Social Drinker?
Dry January is not intended for individuals with severe alcohol use disorders. Quitting alcohol cold turkey can result in dangerous consequences. Individuals with alcohol use disorders (AUDs) should strongly consider beginning their recovery in an alcohol addiction treatment program. Alcohol treatment professionals can treat potentially severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures or comas.
Some ways to recognize whether or not you have a drinking problem are by asking yourself the following questions:
- “Am I able to stop after having one drink?”
- “Does alcohol interfere with my personal or professional obligations, or has it replaced hobbies I previously enjoyed?”
- “Has my tolerance for alcohol increased?”
- “Do I feel physical withdrawal effects, including nausea, sweating, or restlessness, when I’m not consuming alcohol?”
- “Have friends or family members been concerned about my excessive drinking?”
- “How long has it been since I’ve gone a day without drinking?”
For individuals with alcohol use disorders, sobriety is necessary and a long-term commitment. Attending an alcohol detox treatment in New Jersey might be a great place to begin your journey toward recovery. There are many benefits to being surrounded by recovery community members while you complete alcohol rehab. If you are still unsure if you fall within this category, reach our team at (973)-774-7222 for an alcohol screening assessment.