Had one too many over Christmas? People who have made it their New Year's resolution to cut down on the amount of alcohol they drink in 2019 - or even give up entirely - are being encouraged to take part in Dry January.

Alcohol Concern's annual campaign to abstain from booze throughout the first month of the year kicks off on Tuesday (1 January, 2019), and the charity is encouraging people to 'Sign Up, Save Money and Feel Great'.

It says that last year 88% of participants saved money, 71% reported that they had better sleep and 67% had more money. Just over half also lost weight.

Guidance on recommended limits of alcohol states that people should consume no more than 14 units a week - the equivalent of six pints of beer or seven standard glasses of wine. Pregnant women should not drink at all. If people do drink, they should do so moderately over three or more days and keep some days alcohol free.

Councillor Hazel Malcolm, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "Dry January is the perfect way to reset your relationship with alcohol. It only takes a few weeks to break a habit, so this could be your route to happier, healthier drinking in the long term.

"The latest medical advice makes it clear that drinking any level of alcohol regularly carries a health risk for anyone, but if men and women limit their intake to no more than 14 units a week it reduces the risk of illness like cancer and liver disease. The guidance also says that pregnant women should avoid alcohol entirely as a precaution.

"Research has shown that temporary abstinence from alcohol can bring many benefits, including losing weight, having more energy and better sleep and saving serious money. The benefits of giving up alcohol entirely are even greater.

"I'd encourage anyone who thinks they may have had one too many over the Christmas holidays to take up the challenge and see if they can enjoy a Dry January, and a happier, healthier new year."

She added: "If Dry January seems too challenging, it is still worth keeping an eye on what you drink and thinking about how alcohol fits into your life. Many people drink alcohol socially as part of having a good night out, or as a way of relaxing after work.

"But do you know how much you are drinking and how this could be affecting your health? Keeping a simple record of the number and type of drinks you are having, and how you are feeling at the time, is a good way to keep a track on what, when and why you're drinking.

"Remember that although alcohol can give you a temporary lift, regular, long term use can affect your mood and get in the way of good relationships with family and friends. And as January can affect people's general mood leaving them feeling a bit sad, drinking alcohol to feel better may actually make your feel worse."

For more information, please visit Public Health England's Type=links;Linkid=11355;Title=One You;Target=_blank; website, which offers a range of advice and useful tools including a drinks tracker. For further details about alcohol and wellbeing and links to local services, please visit Type=links;Linkid=11358;Title=Wolverhampton Information Network - Drink Less;Target=_blank;

To find out more about Dry January and to sign up, please visit Type=links;Linkid=11356;Title=Alcohol Change UK;Target=_blank;.

  • released: Thursday 27 December, 2018