People who indulged this summer or are just looking for a fresh start this month are putting away the booze and joining sober September. The 30-day challenge is a month-long hiatus from drinking, where the rosé and Coronas of summer are replaced with sparkling water and other non-alcoholic beverages.
Sober September joins its counterpart, dry January, in offering a chance to get back on track with health at a time of new beginnings. In January, it is the start of the new year, while September marks the start of the school year and a return to routines and schedules after the lazy days of summer.
“These months are good and healthy to do, if not only for the reason that they bring back into the forefront of our consciousness how we consume alcohol and force us to take stock of this,” said ABC News Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who completed dry January this year. “What I found personally is that it was incredibly easy to go dry for a month.”
She added, “If people do not find it easy, it can be an indication that there may be a dependence or overuse or abuse problem.”
The current U.S. dietary guidelines defines moderate drinking as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.
Nearly 30 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month, according to the most recent data from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
What can taking a month off of alcohol do for your body?
Dr. Mariam Alam, a former resident in ABC News’ medical unit, analyzed the research to see if a month of no booze for a limited amount of time produces any results.
What can no-booze do for you?
There has been limited research on how quitting alcohol for a month affects your body, but a few studies have shown psychological and health benefits.
Most of the studies have focused on Dry January, which was started by a British organization, Alcohol Concern.
In 2013, 14 staff members at the magazine New Scientist teamed up with researchers at the Institute for Liver and Digestive Health at the University College London Medical School to investigate the benefits of Dry January.
The staff members, who all considered themselves “normal” drinkers, underwent baseline testing with blood samples, liver ultrasound scans and questionnaires. For the next five weeks, 10 of them stopped drinking and four drank their normal amounts.