Short-term sobriety challenges like ‘Dry January’ could have long-term positive effects
Many people resolved to reduce their alcohol intake in 2023, and they selected January to be their “dry month.”
It’s easy to set oneself on a one month sobriety challenge. But sticking to the four-week challenge is a little bit harder, especially when alcohol is ubiquitous and often synonymous with celebration, sorrow, romance, and after-work bonding.
The risks of excessive alcohol intake are well-documented but there are risks from consuming just moderate to low amounts of alcohol too.
Contradictory evidence on what constitutes a safe amount of alcohol consumption has varied over the years. Studies have even suggested that certain types of alcohol are better than others and can even have health benefits. Turns out that no amount of alcohol is safe for the body: It’s all bad.
What challenges arise when participating in a dry month challenge? What are the health benefits of abstaining from alcohol for a month or more? What are the best tips and tricks for a successful Dry January? Why is alcohol so harmful?
What should people take into account after they survey their drinking habits? What are the signs of alcohol use disorder or problematic drinking? Is the new recommendation to abstain completely from alcohol?
- Hilary Sheinbaum, journalist, speaker and author of "The Dry Challenge: How to Lose the Booze for Dry January, Sober October, and Any Other Alcohol-Free Month"
- Jananie Ramesh, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Austin's Dell Medical School, and a hospitalist at Dell Seton Medical Center
- Kevin Phillips, certified peer specialist at Bexar County's Center for Health Care Services
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*This interview was recorded on Wednesday, January 25.