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A Global Phenomenon That Started In The UK
As 2018 begins with a bang, millions of people around the world will be participating in a global phenomenon known as “Dry January”. Also known to many as “Sober January.”
Dry January is an alcohol awareness campaign spearheaded by the UK’s national charity, Alcohol Concern. The organization was founded in 1984 to reduce problems caused by alcohol and attempt to create a society where alcohol does no harm. Dry January encourages people worldwide to give up alcohol for the first month of every year to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol and promote sobriety.
The concept of Dry January – now recognized in countries across the globe – started with one woman.
In 2011, UK resident Emily Robinson decided she was going to give up alcohol for the month of January to prepare for a marathon she was running in February. During her month’s long journey, she discovered a few things. She found out that without alcohol, she lost weight, slept better, and had more energy to do the run. She also found out that all her friends wanted to know what it was like to quit drinking for the month.
Of course, Robinson wasn’t an alcoholic. She was a just a woman who wanted to run a marathon. Nevertheless, her efforts sparked a national campaign that is now celebrated internationally.
After completing the first unofficial Dry January, Robinson went to work for Alcohol Concern. In 2012, Robinson and the organization decided to make Dry January its official flagship campaign and they began promoting the benefits of giving up drinking for a month. Before long, they had a substantial social media following and some significant press coverage.
Amazingly, by 2017, Dry January had 2,959 press mentions globally with five million Brits and people around the world taking the first month off from drinking every year. Currently, Dry January has more than 46,000 Facebook likes, 7,379 Twitter followers, and an impressive six billion hashtag impressions.
When Dry January was in its infancy stages, many people wondered if quitting drinking for a month would really make that big of a difference. To show that it does, Dr. Richard de Visser from the University of Sussex volunteered to administer a free survey of the people taking part in the first Dry January to see what effect the campaign had on them.
He found that six months after January, seven out of 10 people continued to drink less than did they before. As well, almost 25 percent who were drinking at harmful levels before the campaign were in the low risk category.
Also, it is reported that 79 percent of participants lose weight, 62 percent sleep better, and 49 percent save money. All from quitting drinking for one month.
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