Julia Loraine-Ashett signed up to Dry January 2019 after the company she works for encouraged staff to take part. She persuaded her sister Cheryl Davison to sign up too, as they wanted to see if their health would improve after not drinking alcohol for 31 days.
Julia, 50, from Sunderland said: “I usually go out with friends once a fortnight, but I noticed it was the habit of having a drink in the house that started to impact my health. It became a routine to have a glass of red wine at night. But the thing is, you can go without it. You don’t actually need it.
“The main reason behind doing Dry January was my health. I’ve been in such a rut. I haven’t been going to the gym, I haven’t been sleeping well, and I know I’ve put weight on.
Because the alcohol affects my sleep, when it’s time to get up and go to the gym before work, I’ll just tell myself I’ll go tomorrow instead. It’s a dangerous cycle, so I really wanted to see how my health and fitness approved during Dry January.
“I initially thought I would find not drinking alcohol for a whole month difficult, but I didn’t. It was quite easy, although I felt I ate more at first to compensate. What surprised me the most was the impact it had on my life. I went back to the gym, I felt more energetic and enjoyed doing more things with my family and friends. My sleeping patterns improved and I felt so much better overall.
“I did Dry January with my sister for moral support and we both noticed a difference in our whole lifestyles. We even managed to persuade our mam to join us, which surprised the whole family as they didn’t think she would be successful. My mam couldn’t believe how much better she felt, and she now feels she has more time and energy to do things in life.
“I’m thrilled with the impact that Dry January has had on our lives and it has definitely made me re-assess my relationship with alcohol. I have cut down and now don’t drink during the week. I know this is the start of a much better life – and I’m finally getting out of the rut I was in. I will also definitely be taking part again next year and I’m sure there will be more January’s in 2019.”