WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — 2022 was dry for West Hartford’s Maggie Lee.
That resolution came hand-in-hand with a lifestyle change that coincides with her love of fitness. Now, as she goes alcohol-free for “dry January,” she knows to pivot to other beverages.
“Where as like, no alcohol still tastes like alcohol,” Lee said. “I feel like people still can start from there. I also recommend people try other beverages. There’s a bunch better than alcohol.”
There are many negative health effects that come along with drinking excessively, including heart disease, hypertension and depression, according to Dr. Craig Allen, the vice president of addiction services at Hartford HealthCare.
Dry January, he said, can be beneficial.
“Taking the month off can really see what your relationship is with alcohol,” Allen said. “And you might be surprised some of the reasons why you are using alcohol.”
If that involves drinking instead of doing other activities, that can be a red flag. Spending money on alcohol as opposed to other things, Allen said, can also be a problem.
Alcoholism has also become a bigger problem during the pandemic.
“What we saw with COVID was that it wasn’t just one event, it went on for a couple years,” Allen said. “There was a continuous situation of coping methods altered.”
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that men should no more than two drinks a day, and no more than one for women.
Avoiding alcohol can boost energy levels, lead to weight loss, improve immune systems and make it easier to sleep.
To help keep January dry, find non-alcohol drink substitutes, like sparkling water or soda, and avoid temptation by keeping alcohol out of the house. A support group can also help.