The holidays can be a time of going a little overboard when it comes to eating, partying and drinking.
In response to all excess, some are doing a Dry January — committing to not drinking a drop of alcohol for the entire month.
The initiative comes from “Alcohol Change U.K.,” an organization that encourages responsible alcohol consumption.
Four million people took part last year, the organization claims, and some on this side of the Atlantic are getting on board.
“I started yesterday,” said Montrealer Alex Pioli.
“It was a big holiday, big Christmas party, big New Year event, so I think it’s a good thing to take time for your body not to drink alcohol.”
Cutting off alcohol — even just for a month — can bring about health benefits, according to Dr. Mitch Shulman, Global News’ health expert.
“Alcohol is a poison. It’s a toxin — no ifs, ands or buts about it,” Shulman notes.
“Any period of time you’re avoiding any potential toxin, any poison that hurts the liver, will give it a benefit.”
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The hope behind Dry January is that by the end of the month, you may re-think your level of alcohol consumption altogether.
“If you can go a month without alcohol, maybe that can get you into the mindset of not drinking much the rest of year, which will do a lot of good,” said Shulman.
Some say they just can’t see Dry January working in Canada.
“We’re in Canada,” said Montrealer Biljana Vujacic.
“It’s cold. You need to warm up with a little bit of wine.”
At Mad Hatters Pub in downtown Montreal, manager Tammy Aggett said things do slow down after New Year’s Day.
“I don’t think it’s really Dry January, I think it’s ‘poverty January,'” Aggett told Global News.
“People are paying back their credit cards from Christmas. They all have New Year’s resolutions.”
Within a few weeks, she said, things tend to go back to normal.
Dry January or not, research shows that excessive drinking causes a laundry list of health problems.
“If you are going to drink — and most people will — at least be moderate,” said Shulman.
“When we say moderate, we mean two alcoholic drinks per day for a woman, no more than three for a guy.”
Would you try a Dry January?