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Taking on Dry January

Author: Tracey Bleakley
05 January 2018

Tracey Bleakley, CEO of Hospice UK, writes about her reasons for signing up to Dry January and how she plans to cut out wine at dinner times.

At the time of writing it is day four of Dry January and the first year that Hospice UK have been chosen as official charity partners.  As soon as I heard we had been selected, I decided that I should sign up.  I have always believed that as CEO, I should take the lead in terms of demonstrating the values and behaviours we espouse as a charity.  

A healthy and balanced approach to mind and body is part of the ethos of hospice care which supports people with terminal conditions to live as well as possible for the precious time they have left, so supporting Dry January makes complete sense.

I also believe you should not ask someone to do something you would not be prepared to do yourself, so my motivation for signing up was really about getting stuck into the challenge!

But there is also a more serious reason for my involvement.  A friend of mine died suddenly last year from liver failure, which came as a huge shock to her family and friends.  I subsequently learned that, for some people, as little as a large glass of wine every day can lead to cirrhosis of the liver.  Whilst everyone is different, there is really no way of knowing if and how you will be affected until a significant amount of damage is done, which is why the recommended safe alcohol limits are there as a guide. 

I also discovered that whilst liver damage is often irreversible, the progress of the condition can be stopped by giving up alcohol, and many people go on to live full and active lives after diagnosis.  I am curious to see how I find giving up alcohol for a month, and if I can learn anything to change my own drinking habits and support others.

My drinking habit is generally a glass of wine with dinner, so rather than going without I am going to substitute my drink probably with a fruit juice, a smoothie or posh cordial. I have been looking at the Dry January app in the last few days as it can track how much money you are saving and calories you are reducing. I can see how this is useful, but it does not really work for me personally. I know full well that the money saved will end up turning into a treat, and that treat is very likely to be chocolate- related, so the cash and calorie incentives are blown straight away!

Currently it feels like a bit of an easy ride because I would not usually drink during the week after New Year anyway, to give my body a break.  The combination of central heating and lots of socialising means that a few days of drinking water and rehydrating are very appealing.  The big test will come at the weekend, but all my friends are very supportive and have already been researching some delicious-looking mocktails! 

So why not join me?  Each year, hospices provide care for more than 220,000 people living with conditions such as cancer, Motor Neurone Disease (MND), dementia and liver disease. But we want to make sure that hospice care is available for everyone who needs it. By raising funds for Hospice UK, you can help us to ensure that everyone who needs hospice care, gets hospice care - no matter who they are, where they are or why they are ill.

Want to join me for this challenge? It is not too late to sign up and choose Hospice UK as your selected charity

See more articles in Community engagement

Comments | 1


Linda Wood

Well done Tracey for taking the lead. I hope you have inspired your team to follow! It's often takes a life changing moment to shift our perspective and fire our motivations and whilst I am terribly sad to hear of your friends death, I hope in her memory you will achieve all you wish for from dry January and beyond.

08/01/2018 09:56:57

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