Andy’s Dry January story: “I felt in no rush to get back in front of a pint glass”

Andy | December 2021 | 7 minutes

Andy had tried going alcohol-free several times before, but it was taking part in Dry January that really helped him make a change.

I’ve had a problem with drink for as long as I can remember and I have tried to stay dry in January many, many times and failed. So I just thought I might as well have a drink, life seems less stressful and you forget after a few pints or glasses of wine, no matter, it’s just another day!

But then another day, and another day, and one day you wake up and nothing has changed, other than that you have a hangover, a dry mouth, and can’t focus. Exercise is hard, and no matter how far I cycle my beer belly does not go down. My complexion tells a tale of how drink has taken over my life. Well, no more! So, what changed this year? After too many glasses of wine on Christmas Eve and feeling like my head is going to explode and my mouth was like the bottom of a budgie’s cage, I spoke with my wife and we both agreed it was time to stop!

"Signing up to Dry January and a determination not to fail this year has kept me dry."

I stopped drinking the next day, and by 19 January I hadn’t had a beer or glass of wine for 26 days. The first week leading up to 1 January was hard, but signing up to Dry January and a determination not to fail this year has kept me dry. The daily emails were a big help to identify the changes in my body and mind. Boy am I sleeping and dreaming like never before! My face doesn’t look red anymore, and I can see my toes! It’s the first time in so many years that I really feel free. I was determined to finish, and I felt in no rush to get back in front of a pint glass. My cycling is fun now, and my blood pressure is back in the ideal zone. Thank you to Dry January for the help – it’s a good place to be, sober!

What helped me through Dry January was following all the motivational tips and health benefits which were sent to me by Alcohol Change UK, the Dry January charity. I also wrote a list of for and against drinking too much, which went:

  • Against: Hangovers; dry mouth; high blood pressure; elevated heart rate; poor appetite; anti-social; days lost from life due to generally feeling unwell; uncontrolled spending – when I worked out that I was spending over £3k per year I was shocked!
  • For: The social aspect…

"Giving up the booze was no easy deal for me, but with the help that is on hand from Alcohol Change UK nothing is impossible."

But this soon gets unbalanced when you realise you drink at almost every opportunity – sunshine drink before a holiday, holiday drinks, back from holiday and ‘oh-it’s-work-tomorrow’ drinks, every sporting event (as they’re always on in the pub), Friday drinks, after-work drinks, drinking on days with a ‘Y’ in them…

The best help for me was to ask a drinking buddy to stop together. We texted or phoned every day and said, “you still hanging in there Charlie?”. “Yes” would be the reply, “what about you Andy?”. So my main motivation is not to let Charlie down, and the more days you do together the more it becomes a challenge or competition in itself.

During lockdown with the pubs shut the temptation was to pick up a four-pack or more when shopping. However, I took to walking and cycling, and exercise was another big help in filling the gap of the pub or drinking at home. My wife commented on my bank statement, which instead of ‘The Crown Inn’ said ‘Costa’ and ‘Starbucks’ line after line.

In summary, giving up the booze was no easy deal for me, but with the help that is on hand from Alcohol Change UK nothing is impossible. I still have a drink now and then, but the bottom of the pint glass is no longer my best friend. I will be 100% doing Dry January 2022!

Ready to get started? Download the free Try Dry app to take part in Dry January and double your chance of long-term benefits.

Download the Try Dry app