Dry January class of 2019

Erynn Blansjaar | February 2019 | 12 minutes

Here, just a few of the more than four million who took on the challenge share their stories.

In 2019 more people than ever signed up for Dry January. People across the country – and the world – experienced the wonderful benefits such as sleeping better, saving money and doing their insides some real good. But more than that, taking a month off sheds some light on when and why you drink. It means that when the month is done the act of having a drink becomes more of a conscious choice than something you’d do on autopilot. Dry January isn’t just for January – the mental and physical benefits of taking a month off booze will stay with you for much longer. (Get some tips for February and beyond here.)

‘Dry January was about taking back control’

Fiona

"I am 59 years old and I have (almost) completed my first alcohol free month in over 25 years. It’s quite shocking to actually see that in print!"

"People have been asking me why I’m doing this. I think it’s because my relationship with alcohol is the one area of my life which I feel uncomfortable about. I am very disciplined where exercise and healthy eating are concerned, and on the face of it I’ve been doing just fine. I hold down a good job/home/car/family/friends but having ‘a couple of glasses of wine’ after work (and at weekends) invariably means having ‘a bottle of wine’ which doesn’t quite have the same ring to it!"

"So for me Dry January has been all about taking the control back - I wasn’t sure I could do it, which meant I had to give it a go - and I’m so glad I did... It hasn’t been easy but I feel so much better in myself, both physically and mentally."

'I have enjoyed myself without alcohol and will continue to do so.'

Janet

"Like a lot of folks in the run up to Christmas, I was throwing caution to the wind and drinking way, way too much alcohol. I am a 64 year-old woman, still working in a primary school, still having a good time, but piling on the pounds and beginning to feel tired all the time..."

"Throughout Christmas and New Year, I thought I might as well make the most of all the special drinks we had bought in for the festive season, plus all the lovely alcoholic gifts we had received. When I saw the Dry January posts on Facebook, I knew this was the motivation I needed to cut down - a shared focus and an end goal."

"So I signed up and off I went."

"The first week was hell. I was hungry all the time, craving sugar and really missing my ‘relaxing’ large glasses of wine... but I stuck with it. The second week was easier, but I was a bit bored and not sleeping very well so I started going to the gym. Finally, in the third week, I started to feel smug and amazing!"

"I now have a few days to go to the end of January, but I don’t intend celebrating with a drink!"

"I am thinner, my skin is looking good (even though I do say so myself), I am sleeping seven hours every night and I feel wonderful, not just for not drinking, but also for achieving my alcohol-free goal. My social life hasn’t suffered either. From family dinners, to Book Club in the pub, to meals out in restaurants, I have enjoyed myself without alcohol and fully intend to continue to do so."

"Thanks for all the emails, blogs and advice. I couldn’t have done it without you!"

"Ps. I also believe my liver is grateful to you and feeling very perky.😂🙌👍"

‘The benefits I’ve seen are amazing’

Don

"Drinking was an evening habit. Come home, have a drink to unwind, have a drink (or two) while making dinner, and some after dinner. I was drinking nearly a bottle of whiskey a week, three or four drinks a night. Every night. And martinis on the weekend. I wanted to cut back on this consumption and decided Dry January was a good way to do it."

"Habits are hard to break. Some days there was a temptation. I drank non-alcoholic beer for a bit and then fizzy water with lemon. I even used the Dry January app to track results."

"After a month, I remained alcohol free and the benefits are amazing:

  • Better sleep at night and not waking up during the night
  • Waking up with energy and feeling refreshed
  • I lost eight pounds (combined with a slight change of eating habits)
  • Blood pressure is down to more normal levels
  • Money savings of about £60 a week."

‘I feel so much more positive about life’

Penelope

"I can't thank you all enough for your app... It is totally amazing and really making me focus and keep on track, I have cut my alcohol down drastically and aim to only have a drink one day a week soon."

"I was drinking every day, wine with dinner, a few beers with the boyfriend, cocktails with the girls and before you notice it becomes part of your everyday. I really had to say ‘no more’ as I was feeling exhausted and so tired and was having anxiety..."

"So this is why I am saying a huge thank you to you all. Your emails of all the benefits keep you focused to keep saying no to booze!"

"I feel so much better in myself, I have lost a bit of weight... got more energy, I'm sleeping better and feel so much more positive about life."

‘I feel stronger’

J

"This is my first Dry January and to be honest I wasn't sure I could do it as I have (had!) a habit of using alcohol for everything; celebrations and commiserations, good days and bad, when I was relaxed or when I was stressed. I had days off, and rarely had a hangover, but still had a niggling feeling in the back of my brain that I needed to do something."

"I don't plan to stay dry but I feel stronger knowing I don't need a glass of wine when I'm stressed and I have a plan to reduce my weekly units and increase my alcohol free days. I'm more likely to do a dry month again as well."

‘Dry January has literally been life-changing’

Lynda

"Making the decision to give up alcohol in January has literally been life changing. Drinking three or four large glasses of wine a day with more at the weekend on top of several stiff gin and tonics had become a habit as well as a crutch for depression. It sabotaged my efforts to lose weight which in turn just made me more lethargic and depressed. It also knocked out the effectiveness of the anti-depressants I was taking."

"Four weeks off the booze has really improved my mood - I feel so much brighter and happier. I’ve also lost half a stone in weight which has encouraged me to do the exercise I enjoy like walking and dancing."

"I can honestly say I don’t miss drinking alcohol - I still have a glass in my hand but this time it’s low alcohol gin and tonic or apple and watermelon J20 which looks like rose frizzante in a wine glass. For me the benefits of not drinking so dramatically outweigh drinking that I just can’t envisage ever going back to my old habits. Giving up alcohol has made a change that I want to last."

‘The unexpected benefits were much more significant’

Tess

"In all honestly, I didn’t find giving up alcohol as difficult as I expected and haven’t had many cravings for a glass of wine. However, I did expect to get the benefits I’d heard about - clearer skin, better sleep. There’s been no change on either front and for the last four weeks I had been disappointed about it. But today I have realised that over the last month I’ve not once contemplated having a glass of wine when I’m having a bad day and I have found other ways of dealing with tough times. And now as I look towards February and beyond, I feel confident I can make better choices about if and when I drink, and not just drinking because it’s a certain day of the week or a difficult time. These are benefits I never expected to get - definitely more significant for my general, mental and emotional health. Way better than having fewer spots."

‘A real game-changer’

Anon

"I had no idea that I would be able to do this challenge. My drinking habits had spiralled over the past few years and I was in that category of mid 40s, fashionable to open a bottle of wine as soon as realistically possible. I tried the challenge last year and I think I managed six days."

"This time, I’m not just smashing it, I am loving it! This really is a game changer.
I can’t say I’ve struggled this time. Yes, I’ve had a couple of cravings but I’ve kept the focus.
I’ve kept the mindset of, crave a ‘drink’ then ‘drink’! I’ve kept a bottle of water with me and I’ve taken a good drink of water each time.
Benefits are many. Weight loss is great, sleeping brilliantly! Rather than sitting up until gone midnight I’ve set a 10pm bedtime and take a book. I’m up earlier in the mornings, I’ve read three great books and the house is so organised for the school run each day... and no ironing pile and no procrastination over the household jobs! 100% more energy.
I’m in this for the duration, I’m carrying this on to the 100 day challenge. I really hope others have enjoyed this as much as I am!"

If you'd like to share your story, we'd love to hear from you. Please send us an email.

Wondering what's next after your dry month? Check out this blog for advice and tips on where to go from here. You can also download our app to track your drinking year-round!