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Guide to Avoiding Alcohol during January

Rehab 4 Addiction recommends a strict abstinence-based approach to alcohol if you have battled with addiction in the past. However, many of you will not suffer from alcoholism but will nevertheless wish to cut down on your drinking, especially following over-indulgence that is all too common this time of year.

Many of you will wish to implement the now well-known concept of a 'dry January'.

For many people, Christmas is an alcohol-fuelled event. Christmas has become an 'excuse' for a break from the grind of modern day life.

A dry January thus seeks to break this 'cycle' of alcohol consumption that's established itself over Christmas.

A 'dry January' is highly recommended. This is because a break from drinking alcohol affords you with many health benefits. For instance, a study conducted by the Royal Free Hospital in London revealed a month long alcohol break can strengthen the liver and even reverse the effects of liver damage. A month long alcohol break also decreases the odds of suffering from heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Many charities encourage their donors to implement dry January. Donors are then urged to instead donate the money they would have spent on alcohol towards the running of the charity.

If you are about to embark on a dry January then please read the advice we offer below. When you begin your dry January, the first week will be the toughest. This is because your system will notice the lack of alcohol. Once you break through the first few days, you will be on a roll. One of the hardest days will be the first weekend following New Year’s Day. This is when friends are most likely to invite you out for a few drinks. If you can break through the first seven days without drinking alcohol, you're well on your way towards successfully completing your very own 'dry January'.

Below we offer seven tried and tested tips for beating cravings for alcohol during dry January.

Pro Tip: If you suffer from alcoholism, please ignore the below advice and contact an alcohol rehab clinic instead.

Tip #1: Drink plenty of water

It is essential you drink plenty of water, particularly during the first few days of dry January. This is because your overindulgence of alcohol during December will have left you slightly dehydrated. Water will rehydrate your system and also help detox your body of alcohol's many harmful metabolites.

Once you've completed the first week of dry January, ensure you maintain a moderate yet constant supply of water intake throughout the day and night.

Tip #2: Eat natural foods

During Christmas alcohol was unlikely to have been your only vice. You are likely to have overindulged on fatty and sugary foods. Like alcohol, these foods affect how you feel. This is because these foods affect your blood sugar levels. Instead, eat healthy natural foods as well as alcohol. This will lessen the 'crash' you will experience during the first week of dry January. We recommend you eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. Try to eat low-fat sources of protein such as fish, white meat and Quorn.

Tip #3: Give up on caffeine-heavy drinks

This means giving up on tea, coffee and soft/energy drinks. Stopping alcohol may mean you struggle to sleep at night. Caffeine-rich drinks will only contribute to your insomnia. Instead, choose to drink beverages that are known to promote natural sleep. These include chamomile, valerian and passionflower tea. Go to your nearest health store and enquiry about drinks that promote natural sleep.

Tip #4: Take vitamin and mineral supplements

Overindulging during December is usually accompanied with less sleep. All this partying will deplete your system of essential vitamins and minerals. Ensure you protect your body from disease and exhaustion by stocking up on vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin B, vitamin C and magnesium.

Tip #5: Consume natural anti-oxidants

Natural anti-oxidants include fresh garlic and basil. Buy fresh basil twigs from a speciality supermarket and soak these twigs in warm water. Then sip this mixture throughout the day.

Tip #6: Get plenty of physical exercise

Exercise helps you establish new and healthier patterns that do not involve alcohol intake. Exercise will promote weight loss and strengthen several areas of your body. Exercise will also help you to get to sleep at night.

Tip #7: Take a hot bath laden with Dead Sea salts

A nice hot bath will help you relax at night. This will also help you to sleep. You will feel totally re-energised the following day as a result. This added energy will ease the completion of your dry January.