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Sober October: Experts assess what 30 days without alcohol can do for our health


Years ago I gave up alcohol for a month and was so impressed with myself I felt like I had cracked the Da Vinci Code. Of course, once the arbitrary 30 days were up, I immediately went back to my normal “most nights” drinking routine. I didn’t think about it again until five years ago, when a combination of nagging headaches and menopausal flushing forced me to give up.

I haven’t had a drink since then, so Dry January and Sober October have passed me by. The latter, however, which raises funds for Macmillan Cancer Support by asking people to stop drinking in exchange for sponsorship, is set for a great month as many, mindful of drinking too much during the long nights of quarantine, sign up.

Spirits company Diageo recently estimated that by the end of 2022, the UK alcohol industry will be worth £46.7 billion and will have 29.2 million regular consumers, with older people the biggest drinkers for 30 years. In 2020, according to government figures, there were 8,974 deaths from specific alcohol-related causes in the UK; 18.6 percent more than in 2019.

Countless studies have shown links between excessive alcohol consumption and cancer, heart failure, and diabetes, among other chronic health problems.


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