Blog: A January detox only leads to a retox

James Wilmore | 23 November 2012

Alcohol Concern - a UK-based charity aimed at cutting alcohol harm - is urging drinkers to have a "dry January". But is this a credible strategy? 

"Feel better. Save money. Make a difference," its website says. You can also get friends and family to sponsor you, which seems like a bit of a stretch. 

But what seems particularly odd is that another leading charity, with lots in common with Alcohol Concern, the British Liver Trust said a year ago that a January detox is "medically futile"

"People think they're virtuous with their health by embarking on a liver detox each January with the belief that they are cleansing their liver of excess following the festive break," said chief executive Andrew Langford. 

"You're better off making a resolution to take a few days off alcohol a week throughout the entire year than remaining abstinent for January only."

Having tried this British tradition a few times, I would have to agree. Indeed a former colleague, who used to do a January detox, always relished the prospect of a "retox" night in early February, no doubt undoing all his good work. 

Alcohol Concern, which also runs Alcohol Awareness Week, ending this Sunday, must believe that people will have a month off and realise the error of their ways. But I'm not sure it works like that. 

These kind of tactics do nothing to appease its critics in the industry either. 
Follow me on Twitter @jamescwilmore



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