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Dry January doesn’t have to be just about giving up drinking, local doctor stresses

PITTSBURGH — Many Americans are trying a new resolution for this month only: Dry January. It’s a monthlong break from alcohol and opens the discussion on self-control.

“It’s a good way to start the year without drinking alcohol,” Corentin Fircard, a student at the University of Pittsburgh, said.

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It started in the United Kingdom in 2013 and has grown each year. It now encompasses different months.

“It doesn't have to be in January. That's one option for Dry January. But Australia, for instance, has Dry July, and there’s Sober October,” Dr. Jody Glance, UPMC Addiction Medicine Service medical director, said.

While the concept is focused around drinking, Glance said the dry time can really be about anything.

"This could be done for any kind of habit," Glance said. "It can be for alcohol, it can be for eating too much sugar, it can be anything that we start to do repeatedly that becomes a habit, and so this is a chance to take a step back and reevaluate what is our relationship with this."

Glance added people will face cravings, which might be scary, but the process helps them learn self-control.

"Let yourself learn how to, how to deal with these urges and cravings when they come up," Glance said. "Let the wave ride, come out on the other side and realize: Hey, you know, I was able to get through that. I can do it again the next time it happens."

Don't be afraid to lean on a buddy for support, and Glance reminds people to reflect on the reason they are taking a break.

"It’s a refreshing thing knowing I can control when I can go back to it and when I don’t want to go back to it, and it’s somewhat freeing in a sense,” Pitt student Jaden Copper said.


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