Dry January Dropout? Experts Say It’s Okay

Are you a Dry January dropout? If you started the New Year off with plans to take a break from drinking for a month, but didn’t make it to the end, you’re definitely not alone. Millions of people try it as a way to reset after indulging freely during the holidays or as a way to examine their relationship with alcohol. But this year, many didn’t even make it past the first week of 2021 after the riots at the Capitol on January 6th and the ongoing stress of the pandemic. And experts say Dry January can be successful even if you quit early.

Of course, there are benefits to limiting your alcohol intake, especially since people have been drinking more during the pandemic. Doing Dry January may help you sleep better and give your immune system a boost, as well as give you a chance to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol and self-monitor. That’s the most important part, according to Dr. H. Westley Clark, Dean’s Executive Professor of Public Health at Santa Clara University, and he says that can happen even if you don’t keep it up for the whole month.

So if you’re in the dry-ish January group, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, psychologist Dr.RachelGoldman advises thinking about the goals you set with drinking. Maybe you decide to drink less instead of going cold turkey, or if this month was too stressful to quit, you could reschedule and do a Dry February or March. She also suggests getting your friends or partner to join in and take the break with you because that may help motivate you and keep you accountable. But here’s the thing - If you’re drinking within acceptable limits - according to the CDC,Moderate drinkingis one drink a day for women and two a day for men - and you don’t have an alcohol-related issue, experts say it’s okay to be a Dry January dropout.


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