Source: West Milford Messenger
In a survey of local readers, more than 130 said they were giving Dry January a shot this year, or have tried in the past.
Practicing Dry January can have lasting effects. According to a 2019 study by the University of Sussex, Dry January participants were still drinking less six months later, and:
● 87% had a sense of achievement
● 80% felt more in control of their drinking
● 84% saved money
● 72% slept better
But local liquor stores aren’t stocking up on mocktails just yet. Greenwood Lake Liquors owner Jim Aiello said the trend doesn’t affect business sales or operations, though he does hear about Dry January from a handful customers when they return the following month. And he sees some sooner than others.
“I’ll have someone who jumped off the wagon because they had a stressful day and will come in and say: ‘Ah, I’m supposed to be on Dry January,’” Aiello says.
Many Dry January participants use the month as an opportunity to take a mindful look at their drinking habits. But what is a “healthy relationship” with alcohol?
Dr. Bob DeYoung of The Family Center for Behavioral Health in Milford, PA, said there’s nothing wrong with being a social drinker. But as with any habit, there are three things to look out for:
● Loss of control
● Negative physical/occupational/social effects
● Prioritizing the habit
“Those are the three things that define addiction: whether its alcohol or drugs or sex or food or gambling — Whatever it is,” said DeYoung. “So long as drinking isn’t prioritized, you can control your drinking, and it isn’t affecting you, your occupation or your relationships negatively, then “it’s a healthy social habit for them.”
“Cutting alcohol’s empty calories alone probably isn’t enough to see a difference on the scale,” said Suzanne K. Meier, a registered dietician for Crystal Run Healthcare in Middletown, N.Y. “But cutting back on drinking does have a ripple effect that can affect one’s weight. One of the things that alcohol does is lower your barriers, if you will — so people may tend to eat more when they’re drinking more.”
“You start to become aware of when you drink, how you drink, where you drink, and what effects it’s having on you,” ads Dr. Michael Wright, a licensed psychotherapist in Milford, Pa. “And that’s a good thing for for anybody.”