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In her role as Public Health Advance Practitioner at Durham County Council, Kirsty Wilkinson champions initiatives that benefit people’s health. As well as signing up to Dry January 2019 herself, she has been encouraging her colleagues to get on board and many members of the team are now looking forward to a healthier start to the New Year.

Kirsty said: “I took part in Dry January around three years ago and found that I felt a lot better in myself. It wasn’t just for the month of January – it helped me re-set my relationship with alcohol across the whole year. I drank less as a result and the benefits were sustained much longer term.

“I’d describe myself as a moderate drinker. Over the summer season and Christmas festivities, I tend to socialise a lot and I think that has a knock on effect on the amount of alcohol I drink.

“I’ve got a couple of big social celebrations coming up in January – my son’s birthday and my sister’s 50th – and I know they’ll be the biggest tests for me. But the key is to be smart and plan ahead. Fortunately, there’s so much choice when it comes to non-alcoholic drinks. My favourite is non-alcoholic raspberry ginger ale – it’s delicious and a great alternative to alcohol.

“I do think collective activities like Dry January provide a good opportunity to reassess our relationship with alcohol, so that maybe when we next reach for that glass of wine, we’ll just think – do I really need this? Taking part totally changed my view on alcohol and I definitely recognise the trigger points more now. The times when I used to have a drink, now I’m much more likely to stop and think about the fact that it’s not healthy.

“I’m pleased that lots of my colleagues are also taking part in Dry January and I know we’ll spur each other on and give each other motivation to keep going. Telling people that you’re taking part is a good way of spreading the word, but it also helps them understand what you’re doing and your reasons for doing it.

“I’m looking forward to waking up hangover-free for the whole of January and generally feeling fitter and healthier in myself. As designated driver for the month, I know my husband also thinks it is a wonderful idea!”

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