What is ‘Dryuary,’ and should you participate?

By The Health News Team | January 16, 2024
Friends exercising together

The holiday season, with its countless parties, over-indulgence and added stress, is behind us. As we ponder the opportunities that a new year brings and reflect on the past, many may be inclined to try something different in January.

Some call this a New Year’s resolution, while others see it as a chance to reset. Either way, a common goal people identify is decreasing alcohol consumption. And many are in the midst of doing that via participation in “Dryuary.”

Dryuary — or Dry January — is refraining from drinking alcohol for the month of January. And Serene Carruthers, LMFT, manager of Sharp McDonald Center, says there are various why someone would participate.

“Dryuary gives a period of reflection and self-exploration,” Carruthers says. “It can also increase clarity of the mind, improve physical health, and allow someone to change their habits and daily rituals.”

Dryuary benefits and steps for success

Benefits of trying Dryuary — or any extended break from drinking — include weight loss, improved sleep, higher energy and money savings. Although engaging in alcohol abstinence may be tricky, Carruthers says there are tips that can help.

“You want to strive for progress, not perfection,” she says. “That means if you miss a day or two, practice self-compassion and try again.”

Carruthers also recommends having a plan before beginning a period free of alcohol. This can include identifying an alternative drink or doing a healthy activity instead of consuming alcohol.

“Tell those who are close to you that you’re doing Dryuary, so they can offer you support,” she says.

What to consider before you stop drinking

For some individuals with alcohol use disorder, suddenly stopping drinking may cause withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Tremors

  • Sweating

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Seizures

  • Hallucinations

  • Heart palpitations

These symptoms can be life-threatening. As such, an individual with alcohol use disorder should receive supervision and help from a medical professional or an addiction treatment facility.

Whether someone has an addiction to alcohol or not, anyone who attempts to improve their health should be praised.

“Any steps that someone takes towards better health and making life goals are not wasted,” says Carruthers. “For many, making one decision can positively change the course of one’s life.”

Learn about substance use disorder treatment at Sharp; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.


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