Nearly half of ‘Dry January’ attempts failed

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
February 07, 2020, 2:20 PM UTC

Most of those who failed to stay off the booze as part of the popular health campaign Dry January reached their breaking point only halfway through the month

At the beginning of the year 8% of Brits promised to give up alcohol for Dry January. Given that a quarter of the population is teetotal, 11% of drinkers participated.

Now YouGov figures reveal what a struggle it was for many. Just over a third of those attempting it admitted they caved in at some point, but still tried to cut back. One in nine participants (11%) gave up completely before the month came to an end.

Some caved only days into the New Year, adding weight to the saying that trying is the first step towards failure. By January 3rd 16% had already consumed alcohol, but most still intended to keep trying. Four days later, one in twenty participants (5%) had capitulated.

For many, the breaking point occurred about halfway through the month. Between January 10th and 14th the group who had consumed alcohol jumped from 18% to 33%, while the figure for those who admitted defeat also increased noticeably. 

We can see that the odds of success are in your favour if you can make it past the first two weeks. After January 14th the number of people who managed to abstain remained stable for the rest of the month.

Note: As we surveyed seven different groups of people rather than tracking the same individuals, minor variations occur in the data. These are within the margin of error. 

See the full results here for January 3rd, January 7th, January 10thJanuary 14th, January 21st, January 24th and February 4th