Published on: 10th January 2024

If you’ve come into January wanting to make some changes about alcohol, Liz McCoy, our lead for addictions, and Alexis Wilson, senior nurse, from our specialist alcohol service, have some practical advice and ideas to support you throughout January and beyond.

Dry January

Dry January is a great way to try and get any overindulgence back under control. It gives your body (and mind) a chance to have a rest from alcohol without committing to being tee-total long term, and helps build a pattern of more healthy habits.

The benefits to a month alcohol free

  • Better sleep – this improves energy levels and improves your mood.
  • Better diet – make better choices when you are not under the influence of alcohol, more likely to chose healthier foods when you are not feeling tired.
  • Weight loss – not having the calories associated with most alcoholic drinks, better diet choices, more energy to exercise.
  • Physical health – no hangovers, improved blood pressure, gives your liver a break.
  • Finance – a few more pounds in your pocket at a tricky time of year.

Longer term rethink

It may be that you want to use this opportunity to have a re-think about the part alcohol plays in your home and social life.

 You might like to try: -

  • Reducing the number of days you drink each week.
  • Make the weekend really the weekend – not starting Thursday evening
  • Reducing the amount and/or strength of alcohol you drink on each occasion.
  • Stretching Dry January to Dry February too.

You’ll get numerous health, wellbeing (and possibly financial) benefits from this. This doesn’t mean you have to quit forever, but that maybe it’s time for alcohol to not be so central to your life.

Be aware if you do have an alcoholic drink, it might take you a bit by surprise and a small amount could feel much stronger and have a much quicker effect, so take care.

Tips for quitting alcohol longer-term

  • Plan events – avoid alcohol-based events and social activities, be the designated driver, plan an exit strategy if you don’t want to be around alcohol.
  • Distraction – if having cravings, distract with music, tv, books, hobbies, be busy and active then less likely to give in.
  • Don’t buy alcohol in bulk – if you don’t buy it, you can’t drink it. When shopping have a shopping list and stick to it, to avoid being lured in by offers.

Alcohol as a bigger worry

For some people alcohol is a bigger worry. That can be for themselves or for someone they know. Sometimes this creeps up on people, sometimes it’s been there for a while, but a new year makes them want to do something positive about it.

Now is the time to do this. If you are worried, you don’t have to do this alone- it’s best to get some professional help. There are alcohol (and drug) support services in each of our boroughs, across Greater Manchester and throughout the region.

If you live in:

Stockport Stockport drug and alcohol service

START (Stockport triage assessment referral team) if you’re over 26

Mosaic (if you’re under 26)

BuryAchieve services

Bolton Achieve services

Manchester - Change grow live

Oldham - Turning Point 

Rochdale - Turning Point

Salford - Achieve services

Tameside - Change grow live

Trafford - Achieve services