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Ultimately, we drink to socialise. Exeter, for example, has a culture of pre-drinking, going out to Fever, dancing, drinking and letting go. You might even end the night eating Dominoes with friends, sitting on the scratchy carpet of your student halls corridor, crying and laughing. Some of our best memories are made on nights out. So why are 3.1 million of us ditching the drink this ‘Dry January’?

Alcohol Concern started the campaign as a way to tackle alcohol related problems. Ever feel like your multiple nights out cause your life to snowball? This is exactly what ‘Dry January’ is about; promoting healthy relationships with alcohol.

In taking on ‘Dry January’ we actually begin to ask ourselves why we drink? For me, often it seems that I’m using that extra drink to make my night better. However, avoiding alcohol can mean you can save the money and energy to do all the things you have always wanted to do. For example, to book the ticket to that gig you really want to go to, to start societies you have never tried, or even save money to put towards travelling. And taking on ‘Dry January’ doesn’t mean your social life is over. You could plan some nights out like going down to Las Iguanas or Turtle Bay for a couple of the best Exeter mocktails.

The biggest challenge to ‘Dry January’ will be those nights when your friends are going out, you don’t want to miss out and so have to go sober. We’ve all given it a go and regretted it! It may sound simple, but make sure you go to a club you like, and to a night where they have great music. Try something new like Salsa night at Timepiece. Make sure you go with people you love, and you may even realise that you don’t even need to drink to have a great night. Apart from money for entry and emergencies (chips), leave your card at home so you don’t give in. Alcohol Concern state that 79% of participants saved money, 62% had better sleep, and 49% lost weight. A study by the University of East Sussex has revealed that a rebound is highly unlikely to occur, and that the experience will instead promote a happier and healthier lifestyle with alcohol.

This is not to say that you won’t have another night after ‘Dry January’ where you drink a little too much and fall down the TP stairs. But look forward to that night, with some extra money and loads of energy, having achieved the ‘Dry January’ challenge.

For more information on Alcohol Concern, take a look at www.alcoholconcern.org.uk.

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