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Will coronavirus pandemic make 'Dry January' more difficult?

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jan 11, 2021

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — For many folks, it's the last call to start the new year.

They're taking part in "Dry January," an effort to give up drinking alcohol for a month. But the COVID-19 pandemic could make that difficult.

Iain Patterson admits 2020 wasn’t quite the year to toast to, but still, he found himself indulging in a few extra drinks a week.

"Especially over COVID, I found it was really a way to unwind at the end of the day. A couple of beers, a glass of wine," Patterson said.

Patterson isn't alone. A study published by the Rand Corporation in the fall revealed that Americans were drinking 14% more in 2020.

"I remember the beginning it was Zoom happy hours. It was listening to bands and all your friends were on the Zoom together," Patterson said.

After the summer, Patterson said he and his wife decided to scale it back. Now he’s taking a shot of sobriety. It’s called "Dry January," 31 days of no alcohol.

"I think it’s a great way to kick off the year health-wise and then also work-wise," Patterson said. "It gives you a mental focus to shift to your goals and what you want to achieve for that year."

"I say go for it," said Tanya Young Williams, the CEO of Pivot Treatment Centers. "I encourage people to take this moment and measure their relationship with alcohol. Step back and see how it is impacting you emotionally, physically, and psychologically."

Young Williams said she’s heard from clients about the difficulties of staying sober through the pandemic and national unrest. Still, she said every day counts.

"I understand times are hard, but as we tell people in groups, it is merely a setback you can continue on your path to recovery," Young Williams said.

This story was first published by Sabirah Rayford at WPTV in West Palm Beach, Florida.