After an overindulging holiday season of overeating and over-drinking, many people welcome the new year with a desperate need for a detox. This is where the increasingly popular concept of “Dry January” comes in. Started in the U.K., the campaign, the brainchild of the non-profit charity Alcohol Concern, encourages individuals to give up alcohol for the 31 days of January.
Anyone who either dabbles in the occasional glass of red wine or relaxes each night with a beer in hand, are all invited to take part. It is estimated that last year over two million people across the U.K. took part in the campaign, and the concept is beginning to take root in Canada.
Alcohol Concern reports that participants of Dry January can lose weight, sleep better, have more energy, clearer skin and save money. The organization has propped up various testimonies, like this: “From February I pledge to rest my poor old liver Mon-Weds every week. I was sinking half a bottle through habit EVERY night before I did this. I hope I have reset my clock,” to prove the movement helps those involved.
There has, however, been open criticism about the campaign, some critics even going as far as to say that the campaign is a publicity stunt both by the non-profit group and the participants. But no matter what side of the fence people are on, the campaign does raise crucial awareness on the dangers of alcohol addiction.
A large part of the campaign is to raise funds for Alcohol Concern, who in turn use the money to provide awareness around the issue, open dialogue with youth in an effort to protect families from alcohol addiction.
Canadians are starting to take notice of the campaign and whether individuals decide to join in or not, one thing is for certain that campaigns like Dry January also help to bring attention to the dangers of alcoholism, an unfortunate reality for many. A study released in 2013 by the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found that Canadians drink more than 50 percent above the global average.
There are many organizations to help combat alcoholism and substance abuse across the country. The issue of alcoholism is also being taken seriously by the Canadian Armed Forces. The CAF regularly provide programming on the realities of drinking and alcohol addiction on Bases and Wings across the country.
Members of the CAF can reach out to the Addictions Treatment Program, if necessary, by talking to their primary health care provider on the base. The program provides assessment and treatment and members are offered a one-year follow up post treatment.
There are resources and help available if you or a loved one are battling alcohol addiction. Visit anyone of the following websites to start your journey to recovery: