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Gateshead FC captain reaps the benefits of Dry January

Dry January - Gateshead

Dry January - Gateshead

Posted 29/01/15

Gateshead skipper Ben Clark has been tackling a different kind of challenge this month as he takes part in Dry January.

The 31-year-old signed up to Alcohol Concern’s Dry January for a second year running after a positive experience the first time round when he and his team mates were named Dry January team of the year.

Now in the final week of the challenge, the dad-of-three is feeling the effects of a range of benefits associated with cutting out the booze – he’s been feeling fresher and healthier while saving money. 

Ben, from Consett, County Durham, said: “Our team did Dry January last year and I decided to give it a go again, mainly because of all the benefits I felt after taking part.

“We play a lot of games at the start of the year so not drinking really does make a difference - I’ve felt much fresher. I’m not a massive drinker anyway but I would often go for a few pints with the team on a Saturday after a game or to the pub with friends on a Sunday.

“I’ve still been going out but I’ll just have a Coke instead of a pint. I’ve had a few friends ring me hungover the morning after a night out saying I made the right decision not to drink - I think I may be able to persuade a few more people to sign up next year.

“I’ve definitely noticed the benefits in terms of feeling healthier. I have a young family and having a night out can be expensive especially just after Christmas so it’s made a difference in that respect as well.”

Dry January, which is regionally partnered by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, aims to get people thinking and talking about their relationship with alcohol by abstaining for a month. It’s hoped the benefits of the experience will encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles through the rest of the year.

Last year saw the North East lead the way nationally in Dry January sign ups with one in four coming from the region. The efforts of Ben and his team mates were recognised at a national level when Gateshead FC were named the Dry January 2014 team of the year.

Ben is now urging fellow Dry January participants across the region to stick the challenge out as the end is now in sight. 

He added: “The hardest part is done and there’s only a few days left. I know it can be tough but, like me, I’m sure everyone is already starting to feel the benefits.”

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “It’s great to hear how well Ben is doing during his second Dry January challenge. His experiences echo those of scores of other people taking part in this year’s campaign, which aims to get people thinking about how much they drink.

“We often don’t realise how much we are drinking and how it can impact on our health until we take a step back. I hope that Dry January has helped people across the region feel healthier and, if necessary, consider making changes to their drinking habits in the long term.”

To find out more about the campaign and the benefits that come with cutting back on your alcohol intake, visit the Dry January website at www.dryjanuary.org.uk.