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10 Reasons to Have a Dry January

By Janet Gourand December 31, 2023 Health and Fitness

Did you know that 20% of regular drinkers will become alcohol dependent over the years? That’s why it makes so much sense to take regular breaks to check your dependency. The easiest way to do that is simply to take a break from alcohol – such as dry January.

If it’s a breeze, then well done – sounds like you have things under control.

On the other hand, if you can’t get through 30 days without a drink – or can’t even contemplate the thought of it – then you’ll need to make some changes.

Taking a 30-day break from alcohol is beneficial for so many reasons – but let’s just pick 10 of them.

10 Reasons to Take a Break from Alcohol

  1. Alcohol is cunning and needs to be treated with caution. We need to check regularly that we are still in control.
  2. Drinking more than one and a half bottles of wine a week may put your health at risk. A break will help to “reset” your drinking patterns.
  3. A 30-day break will allow you to identify your “triggers” and learn how to deal with them in healthier ways.
  4. Neuroscience shows that 30 days is enough time for our brain to form new habits – and break unhealthy ones.
  5. It will take 7–10 days for your body to detox – after that, your sleep, your skin and your mood will improve.
  6. Taking a break from booze will free your mind from wondering if you should drink tonight or why you drank so much last night.
  7. 30 days gives you an opportunity to become “Sober Curious,” to explore what your life would be like without alcohol in it. You may just find that you prefer it!
  8. Studies have shown that liver stiffness and high blood pressure will reduce during an alcohol-free month.
  9. You may realize that you can have fun without alcohol and that you’ve been giving alcohol far too much credit for the good times!
  10. Drinking alcohol is like throwing gasoline on the fire of anxiety. Why not start 2024 feeling calm and positive!

Health Benefits

Apart from those general reasons, there are many health reasons to take a break from alcohol, especially as we get older.

If you’ve been drinking for years, then you may be wondering if taking a month off alcohol is even worth it – will it make any difference?

Well, the answer is a big fat yes!

The human body is amazing, and your health will improve as a result of ditching the drink, even for just a month. Better hydration and improved sleep will increase your productivity and daily wellbeing. Your liver, stomach, and skin will also benefit from not having to deal with the daily onslaught of ethanol.

Let’s break those health benefits down:

8 Health Benefits from an Alcohol-Free Month


Sleep is the foundation of good health. Although we may feel that alcohol helps us to fall asleep, in fact it is preventing us from getting the deep restorative sleep that we need. As the alcohol leaves our body (usually about 2 – 3 a.m.), we will wake up, often feeling anxious and dehydrated. An alcohol-free month will give our body a chance to get some proper rest.

Liver Health

The liver is an amazing organ and does in fact recover very quickly. Staff at the British magazine New Scientist had medical tests before and after Dry January and found that liver fat had dropped between 15 – 20%. Liver fat is a precursor to liver damage. Tests on liver stiffness also yielded similar results.


Alcohol is now linked to 7 different types of cancer – the risk increases the more you drink. Just 3 drinks a week raises your breast cancer risk by 15%. Drinking more than one and a half bottles of wine a week puts your health at risk so use this alcohol-free month to “reset” before drinking again within “safe” guidelines.

Blood Pressure

Drinking too much alcohol can cause your blood pressure to rise over time. After 3 – 4 weeks of not drinking, your blood pressure will start to reduce. Reducing your blood pressure can be crucial as it can help to lessen the risk of health problems such as stroke and heart disease.

Gut Health

Alcohol can lead to a leaky gut, and can interfere with how the immune system functions, leading to increased inflammation within the gut and elsewhere in the body. When we consume alcohol, our immune system will fight it, as it would fight a disease.


When you drink alcohol, you lose around four times as much liquid as you actually drank. Therefore, giving up alcohol can help you keep well hydrated, which is, in turn, beneficial for your brain. Your mood and concentration will be more stable, you will have more energy and motivation.


Quite apart from the calories in each drink, alcohol is a major driver of overeating. We all know how alcohol weakens our healthy eating resolutions – suddenly, those nibbles at a cocktail party look irresistible. In a recent study, people having two alcoholic drinks with food consumed 30% more food than those drinking water.

Mental Health

Alcohol is a depressant and although it will give you a brief chemical high, it will leave you feeling down the next day. We often drink alcohol to alleviate anxiety and depression, but in fact, it will have the opposite effect.

A month off alcohol will give you a taste of the benefits of quitting alcohol forever.

Check out this article for 6 Reasons to Ditch the Booze after Sixty.

An alcohol-free January will kickstart your health, freshen up your looks and give you a new sense of energy and purpose. Most importantly you will have tested your dependency on alcohol. If it was a breeze to get through a Dry January, then well done! If not, then you’ll need to consider your relationship with alcohol and make some changes.

Need Some Support?

Tribe Sober has launched its ninth Annual Fundraiser for the Earthchild Project which helps disadvantaged children in South Africa. Just $16 provides a child with yoga and life-skills classes for a whole year and provides you with online and community support for 30 days.

Just make a donation directly to Earthchild by clicking here, and we’ll get right back to you to get a start date from you. You can begin the challenge any day up to the January 31st.

And if you’d like long-term support, use the coupon code “sixty” for a 20% discount on Tribe Sober Annual Membership.

You can also listen to the weekly Tribe Sober podcast – available on Apple & Spotify.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

How many years have you been drinking? Do you drink consistently – a glass or two of wine most evenings? Have you ever tried to take a break to test your dependence? Have you noticed an impact on your looks after taking a break? Do you ever worry about your drinking? Are you aware of the health dangers of alcohol as you get older? Have you done a Dry January before? How did it go?

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Reading this article every couple of days is helping me with Dry January. Thank you.


I plan on a drier January working towards a dry future. Many of the items mentioned are happening to me. Overweight. High blood pressure and high cholesterol. These started last year after I turned 65. It’s time to be a healthy senior

janet gourand

Hi Emme I was 63 when I ditched the booze and it was the best thing I ever did! At the age of 72 I’m feeling happier and healthier than ever did during my drinking days. Please check out best wishes Janet


In my younger years I enjoyed having wine with dinner. I was not a heavy drinker. Years later menopause kicks in. Weight creeps up. During a routine ultrasound it was found that I have a fatty liver. I rarely drink. Had glass of wine at wedding in June, then glass of wine at Christmas. Now I’m working on getting Christmas off my hips. I do not miss drinking at all. I can have a good time with a glass of water. I love my liver ….

janet gourand

well done Wilhelmina – good luck with the January eating plan!

The Author

Janet Gourand is a writer, a podcaster and a recovery coach. She quit drinking in 2015 at the age of 63. She founded Tribe Sober which enables people to change their relationship with alcohol. Tribe Sober is an international community which offers a membership program.

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