(COLORADO SPRINGS) – This month, people are trading in the happy hour cocktail for Dry January. For Dry January, people partake in the trend to start the year sober and voluntarily stop drinking alcohol for the entire month.

Some people might be thinking ‘Why would I do that?’ but there are actually numerous benefits to this challenge.

For one, it brings people together. According to experts, a lot of people will do this with their friends and family to hold each other accountable, and so they aren’t the only ones not drinking at the bar.

“There’s no amount of drinking that’s healthy for us,” said Steve Carleton, Chief Clinical Officer of Gallus Medical Detox Centers, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, and Certified Addiction Specialist.

Drinking is not healthy, according to the CDC, which is why participating in Dry January has numerous health benefits.

“Not drinking for a month can improve sleep, can improve mood, and energy levels,” said Carleton.

Studies have also shown it can help with weight loss, strengthen your immune system, reduce anxiety, and can even impact your tendencies for the rest of the year.

“Light to moderate drinkers, when they take Dry January off, typically, they drink less for six to eight months after Dry January. So, it really does decrease the amount people drink,” said Carleton.

Even if you have a couple of slip-ups here and there…

“If you drink once or twice out of the month, there’s still going to be those benefits… I think people should think about it more from a health standpoint than an abstinence-only,” said Carleton.

According to Forbes, recent surveys showed one in seven Americans participate in Dry January, and local liquor stores definitely see it in their sales.

“January is probably the slowest month of the year… and that’s probably a healthy thing to do. Take a break for a couple of weeks and then people come back,” said Gregor Huesgen, owner of Downtown Fine Spirits & Wine.

But, that doesn’t mean people aren’t experimenting with other options.

“There is about 20% more demand for nonalcoholic drinks in the month of January… People experiment with alcohol-free cocktails… You have tequila alternatives, gin alternatives, and whiskey alternatives…” said Huesgen.

Dry January can also be Dry… any month!

“It doesn’t really matter when you start, whether it’s January, February, October, the point is, can you stop drinking for 30 days and sort of reevaluate your relationship with alcohol?” said Carleton.

There are a little over two weeks left in January so for those of you participating, hang in there. For those of you that are interested, Dry February is definitely an option. After all, it is the shortest month of the year.