The best dry month reward may be continuing

At the end of dry month the best reward may be to continue to drink within low-risk guidelines, so safeguarding the hard-won benefits.

If we normally drink regularly the last few weeks of not drinking (or nearly) are likely to have brought significant positive changes.

We will typically notice improved overall mood, lower anxiety, clearer thinking, better recall, and improved sleep, on top of sizable cash savings.

These are significant benefits worth retaining. They are also things which often improve more if we stick to a low-risk drinking pattern long-term.

They often improve for months, up to a year or more. And the first few weeks of low-risk drinking are often the hardest. So why waste them?

Carrying on can also help stabilise our mood and resilience, and help quosh anxiety and any “flat” feelings, called anhedonia.

Sticking to under 14 UK units (140ml) of alcohol a week is typically enough to have this effect, but only if we do so consistently.

Many of us find consistent low-risk drinking is more easily achieved if we do not drink at all, part of what makes Dry January a sound investment.

Why change a winning strategy, particularly one which gets easier over time? An arid February and parched March will cement our gains.

If we do try an alcoholic drink, this is also a chance to see it from a new perspective. Just one drink can spark a fitful night’s sleep in some.

For many of us, Dry January offers a unique chance to make a clear, positive choice around alcohol and gain personal insight.

Banking the hard-won gains of taking this opportunity and enjoying the positives for the long term is at least worth considering. ■