Dry January invites folks to ditch the booze in favor of non-alcoholic alternatives

Breaking a habit is hard and whether you’re looking to switch to a teetotaler lifestyle or are just sober-curious, the Dry January movement is when many people jump onto the wagon, even if only as a temporary measure. Given the plethora of alcohol-free options today, there hasn’t been a better time to go dry.

Dry January started as a public campaign in 2014 and has gained momentum globally with people eager to start off the new year by abstaining from alcohol for a month at least, if not longer. Reportedly, some 69 million Americans (20 percent) went “dry” during January in 2019.

The December holidays are generally a time of increased drinking but given the rise in alcohol sales to combat the COVID-19 isolation throughout the year — some conservative estimates peg it at at least a 14% surge in liquor sales in the United States in 2020 — the health effects of drinking alcohol should be sobering enough to prompt one to consider going dry.

According to the American Liver Foundation, the health risks cannot be ignored. Alcohol-related liver disease is common but preventable and caused by heavy consumption of alcohol. The exact definition of heavy consumption can vary but most agree that it’s at least eight drinks a week for women and 15 for men. So, even one nightly glass of wine puts one close to the level where liver damage can occur. The good news is this damage can be reversed through abstinence, if caught early.