Is Damp January a Healthy Alternative to Dry January?

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We’re just over a week into January, and if you’re trying to abstain from alcohol for the month (a trend known as “Dry January”), it might feel as though February can’t come soon enough. But some sober-curious influencers and health professionals say there’s another way: “Damp January,” which means cutting back on booze without eliminating it entirely.

The term, which is trending on TikTok, is open to interpretation. For Shelly Rose, whose post on the topic has more than 450K views, it means “not dry, just not as wet as usual.” For Lauren Wilensky, who originally planned to do sober January, it means drinking only on weekends, or maybe on the occasional dinner date. Her video has accrued 31K views and 2,286 likes.

“For many years there has been a trend to reduce drinking post-holiday season and into the start of the new year,” says Aimee Chiligiris, PsyD, a clinical psychologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City. That’s a good thing, she adds, since “it encompasses a focus on well-being and is an opportunity to improve health.”

What Is Damp January?

The term Damp January, or sometimes dry-ish January or semi-dry January, started making the rounds on social media near the end of the pandemic. Before 2020, alcohol consumption was trending down, particularly among Gen Z consumers, industry research found, but it shot up again 54 percent during the pandemic, according to Nielsen data. Twenty months later, more than a third of consumers surveyed reported that they were still drinking more than they had before the emergence of COVID-19.

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