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Embracing Dry January

  For several years now, January has been identified as a month of sobriety. This is the time of year when people observe healthier resolutions and try to make “fresh starts” (particularly after the parties and celebrating that occurs in December). Of course, it’s a philosophy that we fully embrace and we are excited that several prominent outlets are publicizing the movement of Dry January.   The Chicago Tribune, for example, published a lengthy piece on the topic. In their story, they emphasized all of the emotional and physical benefits that accompany going clean. In their article, they emphasized all of the healthy beverage choices that can replace alcohol. They also delved into the financial benefits of cutting out booze for a month. Skipping bars can save an average person hundreds of dollars within a 30-day period. Another test would be for the scales. Try weighing yourself after completing Dry January and you’ll most certainly notice a difference.   Over on, some scientific evidence was presented, showing the benefits of the movement. Researchers at the University of Sussex discovered a significant portion of the people who commit to Dry January tend to cut back their alcohol intake throughout the rest of the year. The idea is, once you realize how enjoyable life can be without drinking you’ll probably choose to reduce it from your weekly activities.   One of the advocates of the study, Dr. Richard Piper, offered some psychological backing to the results as well.   “The brilliant thing about Dry January is that it’s not really about January,” he explained. “Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that we don’t need alcohol to have fun, to relax, to socialize.”   One other piece, which came from The Huffington Postoffered another important angle to Dry January. Writer Dr. Niall Campbell was of the opinion that this commitment should also be a time of self reflection. Of course it’s great to partake in a month of sobriety, but the fact that you have to do it all may mean that your drinking is a little too consistent (particularly if you find the exercise to be a struggle).   “If you think your drinking is problematic enough that you are thinking about not drinking in January, should you be thinking about stopping altogether or getting professional advice?,” Campbell wrote. “You need to ask yourself, ‘is it really possible for me to be a moderate drinker?’ Everybody wants to be a moderate, social drinker. The truth is, some people can’t be.”   If that is the case for you or someone you are close to, please reach out for an initial evaluation.