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Brits cut back on booze this January

More than 45,000 Brits say they will go alcohol free until next month to raise money for charity as well as for health reasons.

As thousands of drinkers decide to detox this January, many will find out just how much they like or need the occasional alcoholic drink.

Charities Alcohol Concern and Cancer Research UK are launching simultaneous fundraising campaigns encouraging us to have an alcohol-free start to 2014.

They are helping participants by offering tips on how to stay stone-cold sober for a month.

More people taking part in Dry January

In its first year in 2013 nearly 4,500 people signed up to Alcohol Concern’s Dry January appeal, but that number has more than doubled with 10,000 people expected to take part this year.

Alcohol Concern’s director of campaigns, Emily Robinson, said: "Last year people told us they enjoyed the challenge.

"Some people lost weight, some slept better, almost everyone saved cash and said they would try and reduce their drinking for the rest of the year.

"This is something which is growing and I expect more people to take part every year."

An alcohol-free January "made me feel much better"

Will Snelling, a 29-year-old information analyst from Bristol, completed his personal challenge not to drink alcohol last January and is hoping to do the same this year.

He said: "I thought it was going to be a nightmare and the first week was difficult, but the longer I did the challenge, the easier it was.

"I did it to prove to myself I could do it and that I don’t have to rely on alcohol to have a good time.

"I also thought I needed to give my body the chance to recover after having quite a lot to drink over the festive period.

Snelling added: "We all know the effects of alcohol and what it can do to your body so if you think you’re drinking too much you should give it a go.

"I was surprised how much better I felt in myself when I stopped drinking for a month: I had more energy and overall I just felt better."

Dryathlon raises money for Cancer Research UK

Running side-by-side with Dry January is Cancer Research UK's Dryathlon campaign, which encourages its "dryathletes" to get sponsored to give up alcohol in January.

More than £4 million was raised for the campaign in its debut year in 2013 when 35,000 people took part.

The charity expects to at least match that number of participants this time round.

Anthony Newman, director of marketing at Cancer Research UK, said: "We're encouraging everyone to bin the booze in the New Year and make January a month of clear heads.

"It is also a good cause as by taking part in Dryathlon, you can raise money for the fight against cancer."

Impact of alcohol in Great Britain

There is a serious message to the detox drive with Alcohol Concern highlighting that alcohol is a casual factor in more than 60 medical conditions, including cancer and depression.

Matt Lloyd, head of life insurance at, said: "Christmas gives us a good excuse to overindulge, which is why these campaigns are an opportunity to give your body time to recover.

"Many might not know that alcohol intake can also affect your life insurance.

"It’s a risk factor insurers take into consideration when they process a life insurance application.

"So cutting down on the booze could save you more pounds than you think."

How to get through Dry January

For those taking up the challenge there may be times when the urge to join friends or family in a social drinking session will become overwhelming.

So, here are some tips from Alcohol Concern:

  • Take up a winter sport.
  • Throw a tea party.
  • Treat yourself with the money saved.
  • Take the time to learn something new.

What do you think?

Will you be cutting back on the booze this January?

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Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus

Alex Cinus was a reporter at He started out writing for newspapers in Monmouthshire and Newport before moving to Italy to teach English. After four years in Sardinia he joined the team at

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