New research published by Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January, shows that almost 9 million people in the UK are planning to have a month off drinking this January.

The survey shows that the cost-of-living crisis has impacted drinking habits over the last six months. One in six (16%) people who drink alcohol said this had led to them drinking more to cope with worries around the crisis, and one in seven (14%) have prioritised purchasing alcohol over essential items, such as groceries.

For one in three young adults who drink (36%), anxiety after drinking has also been a factor in their decision to reduce their alcohol consumption. Hangxiety – a term used to describe the experience of feeling anxious the day after drinking – appears more prevalent amongst drinkers aged 34 and under, with two in five (40%) experiencing it regularly, compared to a tenth (12%) of those aged 35 and over. For those aged 18-34, over a third (36%) said it was a contributing factor in their decision to reduce their drinking.

Three in 10 (30%) drinkers said they would like to reduce how much they drink in 2023 (compared to 25% a year ago). Across all drinkers, half claim to already have taken measures to manage their drinking. The most common being having alcohol-free days (25%), drinking less on occasions where they are drinking alcohol (16%), having alcohol-free weeks or months (15%), or an alcohol-free night out (10%).

This January, Alcohol Change UK is partnering with low and no-alcohol brands Lyre’s, Mocktails and Lucky Saint to encourage those taking part to look at non-alcoholic options as part of their Dry January challenge.

January 2023 marks the 10th anniversary since the launch of Dry January. Dry January offers the perfect opportunity to manage your drinking for the longer term and a chance to get some amazing benefits along the way. Research shows a month off alcohol leads to lower blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes risk, as well as lower cancer-related proteins in the blood.

First launched in 2013, Dry January was the brainchild of Emily Robinson from Alcohol Change UK (formerly known as Alcohol Concern). Speaking about its launch, Emily Robinson, now CEO of London Sport, said:

The idea of the Dry January campaign first came to me after I decided to sign up for my first half-marathon. I wanted to be fitter and healthier, and I knew that alcohol makes it harder to get up every day and train. So I decided, just for one month, to give up alcohol in January.

The mental and physical results were amazing. I slept better, had more energy, lost weight, and saved money.

I also found that friends and colleagues were completely fascinated by my experiment, and more and more people wanted to speak to me about it. So, when I joined Alcohol Change UK (formerly Alcohol Concern) in 2012, I shared the idea with colleagues asking everyone to join in with taking a month off booze in January.

Ten years on, it’s wonderful to see how Dry January has become the huge phenomenon it is today. I’m incredibly proud of the campaign and would encourage anyone who’s interested in feeling happier and healthier to give it a try.

Emily Robinson, CEO of London Sport

Dry January officially launched in January 2013. For that first year, 4,000 people signed up to take part. Since then, Dry January has grown in popularity with over 130,000 people signing up to take part with Alcohol Change UK in 2022.

Evidence shows that Dry January is an effective and lasting way to cut down. Research by the University of Sussex published in 2020 found that those signing up to take part in Dry January using Alcohol Change UK’s free Try Dry app and/or coaching emails are twice as likely to have a completely alcohol-free month, compared to those who try to avoid alcohol on their own in January, and have significantly improved wellbeing and healthier drinking six months later.

Joanne Swann, Content Manager, WorkWellPro
Editor at Workplace Wellbeing Professional | Website

Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.