Are you taking part in Dry January?
The 31-day challenge, spearheaded by charity Alcohol Concern, encourages people to banish the booze for the whole of January.
Participants can also raise money for Alcohol Concern, who help people harmed through alcohol misuse, by collecting sponsorship.
Last year I took part in Dry January and raised money for the charity — it was a challenge, but a rewarding one.
Here's some video inspiration from Alcohol Concern:
If you're giving up alcohol this month, I hope it goes well — here's some tips that might help you reach the end of the month without reaching for a bottle of wine.
Buddy up. Having someone in the same booze-free boat can be a great source of encouragement. My boyfriend and I took part in Dry January together last year, and supported each other in swapping pints of beer for pints of squash.
Try new things. With nights out and evenings in the pub less likely (unless you're happy joining your mates but sticking to soft drinks), use Dry January to try new activities of a weekend. Kick-start your 2016 fitness campaign with a brisk walk, try new recipes for tasty Saturday night dinners, plan your 2016 bucket list or finally get round to clearing out the loft. With no Sunday morning hangovers to deal with, you may find your weekends get more productive.
Count the pennies. Giving up drinking post-Christmas may well result in a healthier January bank balance. Fewer pub rounds, the option of driving home instead of paying for a taxi — why not put the money saved to one side and treat yourself with your savings at the end of the month?
Don't be afraid to say no. As I learned last year, a wild night out when you're not drinking and everyone else is can be pretty rubbish. In their giddy/tipsy states, a loud bar or club might be just their cup of tea, while you just want to stay in with a cuppa. Don't force yourself out if you'd rather curl up with a box set and some leftover Christmas chocolates.
Think of the benefits. According to Alcohol Concern, quitting drinking for 31 days will result in better sleep, more energy, clearer skin, weight loss, no hangovers, a sense of a achievement and a healthier relationship with alcohol. Win.
...but don't expect miracles. Adverts for Dry January might give the impression that you'll end the month revitalised, energised, 10lbs lighter and ready for a triathlon. But while it no doubt does your liver good and boosts your general health, you may find you don't feel all that different come February 1. But that's fine, you've still achieved something!
Explore the alcohol-free aisle . It's not all Becks Blue you know — there are more alcohol-free beers out there than you might think. If you miss the taste of a nice ale, check out the alcohol-free section in supermarkets and off-licences and try a few booze-free brews. My favourite was Brewdog's Nanny State.
Learn healthy habits. Dry January can help you gain some perspective on your usual drinking habits — and once you've quit for a month, cutting down permanently can be easier. Dry January can help you assess your relationship with alcohol and implement healthier future habits.
Do it for a good cause. Why not raise money for Alcohol Concern while taking on Dry January? Getting people to sponsor you can help motivate you, and you get the fuzzy feeling at the end of the month that you've helped others as well as yourself.
Tea is your friend. If you miss your Friday night bottle of beer or glass of wine, stick the kettle on. A nice hot cuppa to wrap your hands around is just as soothing and stress-busting, if you ask me —Yorkshire Tea got me through Dry January. Seriously.
If you're taking on Dry January, good luck!