Making a fresh start

How about an alcohol-free New Year celebration this year?

AP

Christmas is a wonderful time for Christians. Besides all the warmth, light and family time the festive season brings, it has, for us, an added depth because we haven't forgotten what it's really all about. It's also a time when it's OK to invite people to our churches for special Christmas services.

Good food and drink go with the season and many people find that they end up eating, and drinking more alcohol, than they normally would. This can lead to feelings of sluggishness and lethargy as the New Year approaches. Not the best way to start another year!

Two charities are challenging drinkers throughout the UK to give up alcohol for the whole of the month of January.

Cancer Research UK have called their challenge a 'Dryathlon' and the emphasis is on donating to the charity the money saved by not drinking. Their website includes a very handy tool to show how much different levels of alcohol consumption cost in money and in calories. If you want to get involved, visit www.dryathlon.org.uk

Alcohol Concern are worried about the toll that alcohol consumption is taking on the nation and claim that hangovers in January alone will cost the UK four and a half million working days. Their 'Dry January' campaign is also supported from their website by various helpful resources. The website is www.dryjanuary.org.uk

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If you can't face a whole month dry, how about celebrating New Year's day without alcohol? If you have children, it's a great opportunity to demonstrate by your own example that celebrations don't always have to involve alcohol. In fact, often they are better when everyone has a clear head.

There are many recipes for alcohol-free cocktails (or 'mocktails') that you can share with the kids. You will find some on Hope UK's website at www.hopeuk.org/resources/alcohol-free-bar.

Drinkaware also provides recipes at www.drinkaware.co.uk/alcohol-and-you/social-life/mocktailrecipes. You could even have fun inventing your own with all those cans and bottles of juice and soft drink left over from Christmas.

Whatever you decide to do with the rest of the month, don't let alcohol spoil the first day of a new year. Drink responsibly or, better still, don't drink at all.

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