WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Some people are embracing the start of 2022 by not consuming alcohol.

It’s a challenge that’s been around for several years called ‘Dry January’ and two local women who’ve reaped the benefits of abstaining from alcohol, share their experiences.

Businesswoman Ruth Corcoran of Wilkes-Barre is not afraid of a challenge. So when she first tried one in 2021 called ‘Dry January,’ she was all in.

“Overindulged over the holidays, wanted to lose a little bit of weight, and also felt that I needed a little detox from alcohol at the time,” Corcoran said.

Corcoran was curious what impact giving up alcohol and its empty calories would have for an entire month.

“I think my weight spurred me into doing it,” Corcoran said

Corcoran shared her thoughts back then about her ‘Dry January’ challenge. So, how did it turn out?

“I found that my sleep was improved. I did lose the weight that I wanted to lose,” Corcoran said.

Hiller asks, “Which was how much?” Corcoran says, “It was probably 12 pounds total.”

Researchers in Europe where the dry January challenge started nearly a decade ago say the brief break from booze can bring you several health benefits ranging from improved sleep and weight loss to reduced cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure.

It can bring another important benefit, self-awareness.

“I was just having this thought in my mind that maybe I need a break from alcohol. Maybe I’m just doing things that aren’t working for me,” said Jenny Hetro, Abstains from Alcohol.

Describing herself as someone who used to have a couple of glasses of wine every night, Jenny Hetro took a similar alcohol abstinence challenge in 2019 called ‘Sober October. Besides improved sleep, she experienced something she considers life-changing.

“Longer term, I started to feel like I could manage my feelings better and be less anxious,” said Hetro.

Hetro says she hasn’t had a drop of alcohol ever since. ‘Dry January: putting a pause on alcohol and realizing you don’t have to drink every day or even ever again.

Excessive alcohol consumption brings with it many health risks both short and long-term.

To learn more about alcohol use, visit the CDC website and to learn more about your health and where to turn if you think you need help, click here.