Dry January

8.5 million people are planning to take a break from alcohol this January

8.5 million people are planning to take a break from alcohol this January

New research from Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January®, has revealed that amongst UK adults (excluding non-drinkers), 30% of men and 26% of women would like to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink in 2024. The new figures come as one in six UK adults (16%) plan to take a break from alcohol this January.

Just under one in five adults (18%, excluding non-drinkers) said they drank more in 2023 than in 2022 – but there are signs that there is a strong public appetite to reduce the amount of alcohol being drunk, with more than half (57%) of this group saying they wanted to cut down in 2024.

Within this group, almost a quarter of people (23%) cited having more opportunities to socialise or celebrate with others as a reason for drinking more. Drinking to cope with financial worries and the rising cost of living was the second most popular reason (21%).

Dry January

More than one in four people (28%) want to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink in 2024

Alcohol Change UK is an independent UK charity working for a world free from alcohol harm. It runs Dry January® – an annual campaign which enables people to take a break from alcohol.

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of Alcohol Change UK, said: “Our research shows that the reasons for drinking more over the past year are varied; many people are still worried about rising costs and are using alcohol as an attempt to cope, but we’re also seeing people who are socialising more freely, perhaps as people continue to enjoy their post-pandemic freedom.

“No matter the circumstances, it’s encouraging that three in five of those who have found themselves drinking more want to cut down in 2024. But we know that taking the first step can feel daunting. However, 67% of people who take part in Dry January® and access our free tools and resources have a completely alcohol-free month, compared to just 33% of those trying to go dry on their own. No matter what people’s individual reasons are for wanting to cut back. Alcohol Change UK has expert-designed tools like our brilliant Try Dry app to keep you motivated, inspired and on track through January and beyond.”

The survey also revealed that many of us continue to struggle to keep on top of our drinking. One in five people (21%) now regularly drinks more than the recommended maximum of 14 units a week (equivalent to six pints of normal strength beer or lager or a bottle and a half of wine per week).

Alec’s story

For Alec, aged 34, from Cumbria, a medical scare and the loss of his father, who struggled for
years with alcohol dependency provided the motivation he needed to do things differently.
He said: “Life seemed to be throwing out curveballs left, right, and centre. I couldn’t seem to catch a break and begin to use alcohol as a coping mechanism. The once warm tingle and laughter associated with meeting up with friends, having a few drinks and a laugh turned into drinking heavily at home alone to dull the pain of a life I was increasingly becoming unhappier in.

“But I got lucky. After being given the all-clear after a medical scare, I decided enough was enough. I had to change. I discovered Alcohol Change UK and their Dry January challenge and thought I’d give it a bash.

“The information I gained from my experience was invaluable. It really got me thinking differently about alcohol and its effects on physical and mental health and relationships. The Try Dry app is an excellent tool to help you keep track of your goals in January and beyond. I would highly recommend it to anyone considering changing their drinking habits.”

Emily’s Story

Emily, aged 64, used to enjoy a glass or two of wine over the course of an evening. But this soon became a bottle every time, which soon became the norm. But Dry January helped her to take back control.
She said: “Occasionally, I’d take a day off drinking, but it wasn’t until I decided to give Dry January a go. I felt the benefits of a longer break. My main benefit was better sleep and not waking up with a headache in the morning. I also felt my liver was thanking and cheering me on.”

Research shows that those participating in Dry January® from Alcohol Change UK double their chances of success. They have more energy, improved concentration, boosted mood, saved money, significantly improved well-being, and lower alcohol risks six months later.

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