Bottoms down: It’s Dry January.
For Heather Molnar that means holding the gin in her gin and tonic for the rest of the month and substituting that end-of-day glass of wine with kombucha.
“I like to put it in a wine glass or something fancy,” says Ms. Molnar, a 46-year-old content strategist who lives in Morris Plains, N.J.
Ms. Molnar is doing her fourth consecutive Dry January, a popular challenge in which people become teetotalers for a month.
The phenomenon is widely practiced and promoted in the U.K. through a public-health campaign started by the charity Alcohol Change UK in 2013. More than four million people have signed on in recent years, the charity says.
The phenomenon is slowly making its way across the Atlantic.
Ms. Molnar heard about the campaign through social media and joined a U.K.-based Facebook group. Now she volunteers to promote Dry January through a program called Dryuary by the Michigan-based nonprofit Moderation Management.
“When I did my first one, I thought on Feb. 1 I would go out and drink all the drinks, and I didn’t,” she says. “I probably didn’t even have a drink for the first two weeks of February. The awareness lingers.”
Research backs that up.
“Over 800 people died of alcohol withdrawal in 2016,” says George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the U.S. government’s National Institutes of Health. “If you’re a heavy drinker, you want to get medical help for detoxification, because it really can kill you.” Seizures or hypothermia are usually what kill people in these situations.
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