Looking to boost your immune system for 2021 and become a healthier version of yourself? It’s time to check out the limitless benefits that ditching the drink for 31 days (and longer) can bring.  

Are you one of the 6.5 million people taking part in Dry January this year? If so, congratulations, you’re over halfway through. Each booze-free day brings you a step closer to a healthier, happier you. By now, you should be starting to experience some of the benefits that being alcohol-free brings. A calmer mind, more positivity and a shot of energy. And who doesn’t need a dose of that after the year we’ve just experienced? 

This year 1 in 5 people signed up for Dry January (an increase of 2.6 million from 2020). Lockdown drinking is falling out of fashion. There’s been no cancellation of Dry January, and if you’re sticking with it, be proud of yourself.  Don’t think of it as missing out. Dry January isn’t about giving something up. It’s about rebooting your inner calm, boosting your energy levels and getting your mojo back. 

All the benefits, none of the risk. 

A 2018 study undertaken by Sussex University showed that giving up alcohol for just 31 days leads to several positive health changes. 71% of participants slept better, and 67% had more energy. But it’s not only health benefits that you gain. 88% of participants also saved money. Ker-ching ker-ching!

So, how can you expect to feel after a booze-free month? 

General Health

It’s no myth-buster that giving up alcohol is good for your general health. For a start, your liver will thank you. Research shows that staying off booze for one month can improve your liver function and reduce liver fat by 15%. It can lower your blood pressure and help stabilise your glucose levels. Add improved digestion, less acid reflux and fewer headaches into the mix, and you’re on a health roll. 

Immune system booster 

Drinking alcohol weakens our immune systems. It makes it harder for our immune cell soldiers to gather together and battle against infection. Not only that, alcohol can kill healthy micro bacteria in the gut and also affect the little tiny hairs in our lungs. But here’s the good news. By giving up alcohol for just 31 days, you can give your immune system and body a much-needed boost. Just what the doctor ordered. 

Better sleep

You may feel like you fall into a deep sleep after a night out on the tiles, but in fact, you’re missing out on the vital REM sleep needed to refresh our brains and bodies. By staying off the sauce, (and we’re not talking ketchup here) you’ll sleep better and have way more energy to face the day. 

Mental Health

No hangovers equal no hangxiety. No waking up with the ‘cloud of doom’ hovering over your head all day. You’ll experience fewer mood swings, and your mind will be clearer and more focused. Generally, you’ll be happier as well as healthier—a win-win situation. 

“I’m the happiest that I’ve been for many years.”

There’s so much to gain by embracing sobriety as Hannah discovered. After trying to get sober alone, she signed up for a supported sober challenge.

“After my original goal of 28 days sober, I wanted to challenge myself further. I realised that after 28 days it was too soon to feel all the benefits of sobriety. I went on to join a challenge led by Jojo and Dawn, and with each milestone, I could really feel and see the positive changes.” 

Hannah felt so good that she decided to carry on with her sober quest at the end of the challenge.  “I could really feel and see the positive changes which I would have missed if I hadn’t carried on with my journey. Now at 8 months sober, I am the happiest I’ve been in many years. Not because life is better, as we are in the middle of a pandemic, but because I am better which has given me a life worth living.” 

Are you really going to throw away all your hard work? 

Here’s the not so good news. All the benefits of giving up booze for a month are temporary. As soon as you fall off the wagon and start drinking again, you lose them. A bit like starring in your very own quiz show, you have to keep going to reach the big-money finale. 

Would you consciously choose hangxiety over a clear, happy mind? Waking up groggy over waking up refreshed and full of energy? The first month is often the hardest, so why not keep on keeping on and sign up for a sober challenge as Hannah did. 

The Fish Followers Society Facebook group (FFS) is a great place to continue with (or start) your alcohol-free adventure and sign up for a sober challenge. The group’s level of support is second to none, and it’s a fantastic way to meet other sober souls without fear of judgment. Once you sign up for one of our challenges, you’ll be a member of a private messenger group and attend regular Zoom meetings within a safe, confidential space. Hundreds of people have successfully changed their mindset towards alcohol with the help of our challenges. 

And if they can, you can too. 

Joanne is one of our shining sober stars. She signed up to her first challenge in 2020. 

“I decided as part of my sober journey to take part in a challenge. I ended up completing 3 and this cemented my sobriety. I received the support I needed and felt safe sharing my thoughts with other challengers in the group. For me, these challenges have been about finding the real me. I’ve realised I’m much stronger than I thought I was.” 

After more than 266 days sober, Joanne describes her new found sobriety as much more than not drinking. “I used to hear people describe a freedom that I could never understand, but now I have this priceless freedom too” 

Lyndsay signed up for 2 challenges and is now over 8 months into her sobriety. “I did two challenges with Jojo and Dawn, and now I have general support within the Facebook group. I’ve lost about 1.5 stone in weight…and I realise there’s so much more to life than the pub and drinking at home. I know I don’t want to stop now.”

Sign up for a challenge and watch your confidence and self-esteem rise. 

What can you expect if you keep on keeping on and add Dry February and Dry March to your sober calendar?

  • You’ll discover more about who you are. What’s important in your life will become more apparent. This could be anything from early mornings without a fuzzy head to cherishing time with family and friends. Everything will become more enjoyable. Food is tastier when you’re not dulling your senses with alcohol, colours more vibrant, and emotions become real. 

  • Your general health will improve further. After 100 days, your red blood cells start to renew, carrying higher levels of oxygen. You’ll find you have more energy than the Duracell bunny. Excess fat will continue to shed away from your liver. And you’ll feel more intelligent as alcohol stops impairing your thought processes. 

  • Anxiety levels will lessen. You’ll ‘feel the feels’ instead of turning to alcohol to make them disappear. By facing your feelings, you’ll become more resilient at dealing with what life throws your way. You’ll recognise when you need to step up your self-care and look after yourself better. The temptation to stop after January is strong. But keep on keeping on, and you’ll experience the joy sobriety brings. 

Katie experienced all these benefits first hand. 

“After a month sober the way I felt took me by surprise. I totally didn’t want to go back to the 

cycle of drinking, hangover, drinking hangover. I’m so pleased I carried on.” 

She describes the benefits as life-changing. “At 47 am learning to love myself. I sleep better, my skin and hair look better than in my 20’s and I am so much calmer. Getting sober has been so much more than putting down the glass or bottle. I have rediscovered my life. After 10 months sober I definitely don’t want to drink again.” 

Make sobriety your priority and leave old habits behind

Once January is over, most will fall back into old habits. But you don’t have to rejoin the alcohol brigade. If you enjoy a sober life, it’s silly to chuck that positivity away. You can abSOULutely make sobriety your priority. 

FFS member Danielle struggled when February rolled around, but she now looks back at that time as a life-changing moment. 

“The hardest bit of Dry January? Staying sober on 1st Feb. Watching others happily reverting back to the bottle, full of celebrations that Dry January was completed. On reflection, the most liberating and important day of my life? 1st Feb.” 

3 years down the line, Danielle is still sober. “Finding a life without alcohol (yes it does exist) embracing and learning to love my life was the best decision of my life. One word describes my journey. Freedom.” 

Rachelle is also nearly 3 years on and has been able to come off medication. “I’ve had therapy for many years and not got the results I got on a 25 day challenge. I can’t think of any area of my life that hasn’t improved.” 

With sobriety there’s so much to gain. Are you ready to keep on keeping on and turn Dry January into your own life-changing challenge? 

For more information about our super sober challenges, contact myself or Dawn. 

Alternatively, I offer personal coaching to help guide and support you through your sobriety. 

Book an informal chat with me via my website and let’s get you started on your own journey towards a healthier, happier you in 2021.