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Dry January is something of a recent phenomenon where, after drinking too much over the festive season, people volunteer to give up alcohol for a month and usually raise money for charity in the process. 

Are there any benefits to giving up alcohol, even for a period as short as 31 days? In 2016, thousands took part and charity Alcohol Concern report that 79% of participants saved money, 62% had better sleep and more energy and 49% lost weight.

Alcohol Explained is a new book written by William Porter who researched his way out of his drinking problem. His new book provides a somewhat controversial look into how alcohol problems happen – and gives his personal story as guidance on reversing addiction.  

Porter believes that anyone of us can develop dependency – even with fairly moderate regular drinking.  We all know the typical parent pattern of putting the kids to bed and then hitting the wine – but the book explains that although you might have very strict rules about when and how much to drink – it can still lead to dependency. 

He argues that the UK’s insomnia epidemic is being fuelled by the country’s drinking habits. Research reveals that even very modest amounts of alcohol guarantee sleep deprivation.  Alcohol is used by 80% of the UK population and most regular drinkers never stop drinking for long enough to regain natural sleeping patterns.  Early parenthood is of course marked by lack of sleep. 

This book shows how regular drinkers (even of just one glass of wine a day) are building chronic sleep deprivation – so booze is probably of little help when dealing with the sleep aspects of a new baby!

Rather than relaxing us, alcohol makes the brain release stimulants which leave us more anxious than before – and in need of a drink.  The book argues that all of those natural anxieties of dealing with parenthood are compounded by drinking – not alleviated.

To put things into context, did you know that 93,500 babies under 1 live with a parent who is a problem drinker? Sobering (pardon the pun) statistic. If you are taking part in Dry January, your fundraising helps raise awareness around the issues, gets young people involved in conversations around alcohol, often for the first time, and can help to protect the most vulnerable members of our society.

If you’re not sure if taking part in Dry January is for you; these reasons from Alcohol Concern might convince you:

Dry January can help to:

  • Reset your relationship with alcohol - realise you don't need it

  • New year, new you - do Dry January and feel healthier and happier as:

  1. you sleep better

  2. your skin improves

  3. you lose weight

  • Put money in your pocket (the average person spends £50,000 on booze in their lifetime)

  • Get healthier - giving up alcohol for a month you does your insides a lot of good.

  • Amazing sense of achievement!

If we could come up with a new health supplement or discovered a superfood that had all those benefits, we’d be millionaires. Instead Alcohol Concern aims to offer the help, advice and encouragement to let you get these benefits yourself, all for free.

Visit the Alcohol Concern website if you’re looking for a charity to support this Dry January. Good luck!

Buy Alcohol Explained by William Porter here.