Cancer Research UK has come up with a way of raising money to help cure cancer whilst also attempting to improve the health of thousands of people across the UK. They are encouraging people to receive sponsorship to remain abstinent from alcohol for the whole of the month of January – known as a Dryathlon. Whilst I applaud this tactic in aiming to get social drinkers more aware of the impact alcohol is having on them, my main concern is that it is going to be an invitation for those with serious alcohol problems to put themselves in serious danger.

Aside from the physical dangers (see information on alcohol withdrawal symptoms), my main concern is that becoming a “dryathlete” is a way of the person with the drinking problem becoming more embroiled in their denial – proving to themselves and others around them that they can stop drinking whenever they want. Well for some, it is possible to stay away from alcohol for a month, with alcohol detox incentives, and perhaps this is easiest to achieve when you know that come 1st February you can return to drinking heavily. And having “proved” that there is no problem with alcohol, what is to stop the person from increasing their alcohol intake? After all, they can stop whenever they want. Right? In my humble opinion, I fear that the Dryathlon is encouraging the illusion of control in people that really need to accept that the one in control is alcohol.

So my suggestion is that alongside still donating to Cancer Research UK (after all, it is an amazing cause), call us. We can talk to you about the impact alcohol addiction is having on you and offer support in getting the right kind of help.