North East people challenged to stay alcohol free for 31 days

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, is challenging people to give up the drink for 31 days in support of the Dry January campaign

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, North East Alcohol Office
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, North East Alcohol Office

After the excesses of the festive season, people in the region are being challenged to stay alcohol free for 31 days.

Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, is encouraging people to temporarily give up the drink in support of Alcohol Concern’s Dry January campaign.

Now in its second year, Dry January urges people to consider their alcohol intake and start the New Year with a healthier, sober approach.

Last year, around two-thirds of those who took part managed to complete the task, with many suggesting that participating had made them think differently about their alcohol consumption.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Many of us are guilty of overdoing it a bit in December so we’re asking people to think about how they plan to start the New Year now, before the temptations takes hold.

“New Year is the perfect time to take stock of our health, particularly how much alcohol we are drinking, and accepting the challenge posed by Dry January is a fantastic way to reconsider our usual attitudes towards alcohol. Taking a break from drinking or reducing your intake is good for your long term health – but there are also a range of immediate benefits such as feeling better in the mornings, having more energy during the day and possibly losing weight.”

Accepting the challenge of Dry January means attempting to abstain from alcohol for the entire month. The campaign is being supported by health professionals and public bodies who are championing vintage tea parties and other activities as an alternative to alcohol-fuelled nights in January.

Cabinet member for health at Gateshead Council, Mary Foy, said: “Alcohol is responsible for anti-social behaviour, ill health and significant cost to the local economy and NHS.

“We would encourage everyone to try Dry January to see what difference it makes to you to be alcohol free.”

Dry January is not a medical detox programme and should not be attempted by those with an alcohol dependency problem, anyone considering reducing their alcohol intake in this situation should always seek medical advice first.

Coun David Stockdale, deputy cabinet member for public health, culture, leisure and libraries at Newcastle City Council, said: “It’s good to have a break from the booze occasionally, and dry January is a great chance to ‘go dry’ for a month, saving money and improving your health.”

Anyone wishing to take part in Dry January can find out more about the campaign at www.dryjanuary.org.uk where there is helpful advice, hints, tips and testimonials from those who took part last year.

You can also go to the twitter page @dryjanuary.

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