NHS Health Improvement Specialist, Tim Holmes, 44, from Guidepost in Northumberland, took part in Dry January three years ago and after feeling the benefits, decided to give up booze for good.
Tim said: “Three years ago, I made the decision to sign up to Dry January. I’ve never been a big drinker but I wanted to see how I’d feel by taking some time out from alcohol.
“I actually started my ‘dry’ month just before Christmas as I thought I’d see how I’d get on. Half way through January, I realised that I just hadn’t missed alcohol at all and that gave me the motivation to continue through to my holiday that May. Once my holiday was over and I’d made it that far, I decided just to keep going.
“I’m generally into my health and fitness and like going to the gym so I’ve always considered myself a healthy person. Alcohol was a part of my life before but I only ever really drank on nights out, perhaps a couple of times a month.
“When I made the decision to give up alcohol altogether, I had discussions with my friends and explained what I was doing and why. They were supportive but some did feel it would be a big move. But I think they’ve realised what a positive decision it’s been for me and it’s definitely changed our conversations around alcohol.
“Alcohol is a big part of our community and in my role as a health worker, I’ve seen its harmful impact first hand. Much more is known about the health harms associated with alcohol today, including cancer and even things like mental health, and because of my job in public health it was important to me to support the national campaign and raise awareness.
“Dry January spurred me on to make a difference to my life. The main benefit to me from giving up alcohol is knowing that I’m not harming my health by drinking. Alcohol is one of the things we do have control over and we can choose to drink less and reduce our risk of getting alcohol-related conditions.
“I enjoy how I feel in myself much more now too. I hated having hangovers and just feel that I’m even more productive now. I miss it from time to time, but only really at special occasions, and for me, the benefits of not drinking outweigh the reasons to drink.
“It has also changed my view on alcohol. It’s not nice to see people drunk and see how their behaviour changes after drinking. You really notice it a lot more when you’re not drinking alcohol. There’s also plenty of fun things to do without alcohol. I love going to theme parks, I’m a real rollercoaster fan, and I’ve got some exciting trips planned!
“For me, it’s not about saying to people give up alcohol altogether. When I first tried Dry January I had no intention of cutting out alcohol completely, but I gave it a go and I liked how good it felt.”