One in ten drinkers plan to go alcohol-free for Dry January 2020, are you going to be one of them?

Are you drinking more than you planned to?

Almost four in five (78%) Brits drink more than they want or intend to, according to a new online YouGov poll commissioned by Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January.

The research shows that people of all ages drink more than they want to at some points in their life. The reasons for drinking more than planned vary between age groups. Younger people are more likely to drink more than they wanted to because they feel it makes them more outgoing (over a third [36%] of people aged 18-24), while people of all ages find themselves drinking more than they want as a result of drinking in rounds (20% of people).

Over one in five (23%) British adults feel pressured to drink more alcohol than they want to by people they know: mostly by friends (15%) and colleagues (6%). While fewer older people experience this ‘peer pressure’ it never disappears completely, with over one in ten (12%) of those aged 55 and over saying they experience pressure to drink from people including their friends, colleagues and family.

Use the Try Dry free app to help you reduce your intake

One in ten drinkers in the UK (10%) plan to take on Dry January in 2020, seeking to throw off the pressure and reset their relationship with alcohol. Alcohol Change UK is encouraging people to sign up for Dry January via the free app, Try Dry, to reset their relationship with alcohol and improve their health.

Signing up to the app is free and gives you access to great support, allows you to track your units, calories, money saved by not drinking, plus many more features. You can also sign up for regular support emails at dryjanuary.org.uk, giving you tips and tricks from experts and others taking part. People who sign-up are twice as likely to be successful compared to those who try to do it alone.

Positive effects of taking part in Dry January

Sue, aged 59 from Stratford-upon-Avon, realised she was drinking more than she wanted to and was putting her health at risk, but her friends reassured her that she was fine. She took part in Dry January in 2018, and said:

“I was drinking every evening and it crept up to three quarters to a full bottle of red wine a night. I would get anxious if I didn’t have a bottle ready for when I got home. On the odd occasion when I tentatively suggested that I thought I drank a bit too much, friends would say, ‘No, you’re fine’. I wasn’t feeling great and suffering from anxiety, not sleeping well, and with various mystery aches and pains especially in the mornings) which I put down to my age. I decided to do Dry January. It was hard, but I used the Dry January app which I really liked. I got through January and decided to limit my drinking to Friday and Saturday only, and a maximum of a mini bottle of wine on each of those days.

“I now feel comfortable not drinking alcohol. I have more time, am more productive, feel healthier mentally and physically and sleep better too. I enjoy the freedom of being able go out somewhere and simply enjoy the event. Often friends say they are jealous that I have been able to do it and they think they should cut down or stop as well. I’m still not thinking too far ahead, and know that I can’t be complacent, but I really don’t want to drink alcohol again – my life is so much richer without it.”

Adverse health risks of drinking

Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol – seven forms of cancer, liver disease, mental health problems – but we are often unaware that drinking less has more immediate benefits too. Sleeping better, feeling more energetic, saving money, better skin, losing weight… The list goes on. Dry January helps millions to experience those benefits and to make a longer-lasting change. So go on, take part, download the app now.

Public Health England have endorsed Dry January

If you drink very heavily or regularly Dry January may not be for you, so check with your GP or local alcohol service before you start. Where an individual is experiencing physical symptoms when they stop drinking (which may include but are not limited to: shakes, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, stomach cramps or hallucinations) they should seek medical help urgently.

Are you a family or friend affected by someone’s drinking?

Perhaps you’re not the person drinking excessively but on the receiving end of someone who is? Or, maybe you have concerns about a family or friend’s wellbeing surrounding the use of alcohol?

It is widely recognised that family and friends around those with alcohol misuse tendencies really need support. That’s where Carers Support West Sussex (CSWS) comes into play by offering a range of free and confidential options to enable you to cope and help if you are affected by someone else’s drinking habit.

CSWS can also signpost to other local organisations, such as Change, Grow Live, who can give advice and crisis information, so you know what to do in supporting someone else.

If you would like to find out more about how CSWS can help you care for someone else, please do get in contact by phoning 0300 028 8888 or emailing info@carerssupport.org.uk

For out of hours support, please contact:

• Sussex Mental Health Line which is a 24 hour line which carers can call for advice and support in a crisis on 0300 5000 101
• DrugFAM – If you are affected by someone else’s alcohol addiction, contact their free helpline from 9am – 9pm 7 days a week on 0300 888 3853
• Call FRANK – open 24/7 on 0300 123 6600 or Chat text 82111