Ever heard of Dry January? Yes, are you in? Then reading this text will help you to get through this month. No, never heard of it? Then please read the text anyway, maybe you will become curious and do something good for yourself afterwards.

As the name suggests, Dry January is about abstaining from alcohol for a month after the often boozy festive season. That sounds easy, but it’s not, because alcohol is so present in our everyday lives that it’s very difficult not to be confronted with it. A saying circulating on the internet goes like this: “Alcohol is the only drug that you have to explain why you don’t take it.” That gets right to the point.

From where I know this? I last drank alcohol in December 2019. Originally not with the intention of doing without it forever. Today it is no longer imaginable for me to tip any booze into my body. Because everything that has happened to my body in one year, I would never have thought possible.

I claim: I haven’t gotten older since then – as is usual in the trade. No, I’ve gotten younger.

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I’ve lost weight significantly. Pretty easy, without dieting, without paying attention to anything, very easy. Alcohol makes you fat, on a night out in the pub the maximum calorie intake required can easily be doubled with a quick gulp. Men also lose weight in abstinence where fat is extremely unsexy: on the abdomen and upper body. The ugly term “beer tits” is no coincidence.

My skin breathes. Scientifically proven: alcohol consumption accelerates skin aging and – sorry for the harsh words – makes it ugly. Redness, pimples, torn pores and swollen areas of the face are all normal side effects of alcohol.

The joke: because they are so commonplace, you only notice them when they disappear. A pretty pleasant effect that can pretty much spoil the desire to go back to drinking. Incidentally, doctors attribute the effect to the relief of the liver, which, if it does not have to break down alcohol every night, can concentrate on its around 500 other vital tasks.

Carsten Gensing (51) is a freelance media consultant and journalist. He lives in Hamburg.

Avoiding alcohol gets your love life going. At the age of 52, I had long since become acquainted with erectile dysfunction and prostate problems. Getting drunk through a wild night of love may still be possible at the tender age of mid-20s. When you’re 50, there’s not much left.

And with women? I used to think: women who don’t drink alcohol are boring and not open to sexual adventures. Today I know: This assumption is one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

Sex doesn’t get good because you’re drunk. Sex is good when you are physically fit, that should be said very clearly here, especially for all older men of my age or older. A lot of guys have long since given up hope of spectacular sex and don’t even know that they too are capable of it. It is enough to exchange the beer for water.

Back to the practical things in life. Giving up alcohol saves money. Plentiful! Just do the math yourself, how much coal you have already burned to get drunk.

A quick sample calculation: After-work beer with buddy A. Five pints at five euros each, two rounds of schnapps to say goodbye, one round is on your account (eight euros). Are 33 euros for the drinks (plus any tip).

Now there are the additional costs associated with drinking: a taxi ride with a possible stopover at the kebab shop. Another taxi ride to the office the next morning because the car is still in front of the restaurant and it’s too late for public transport – because you had to sleep in longer because of the skull.

All in all: 50 to 60 euros (or even more) are quickly gone for an unspectacular evening.

Speaking of hangovers. Does anyone seriously want to explain to me that they can’t do without the nasty stabbing headache, dry throat, high blood pressure, cardiac arrhythmia, leaden tiredness and nausea after drinking? Hardly likely.

Hungover for work doesn’t make a good impression anyway. Not only do you look bad, you stink too. When I was still drinking alcohol regularly (almost every day), I didn’t realize how much non-drinkers can smell other people’s flags, even if they just scurry past you.

Well, it’s not that easy after all. Because there is definitely a high addiction factor that not only has physical and psychological components, but also social causes. And that’s where your own circle of friends and family come into play.

Both institutions often view abstinent activities with suspicion and skepticism. Sometimes even as a kind of disease that you hope to be cured of soon enough to then get back into the circle of social drinkers. I even experienced angry reactions when I dared to disturb the community intoxication experience at the beer garden table with a non-alcoholic beer in hand: “But that’s enough!”

You should be prepared accordingly – for annoying comments and clumsy attempts to torpedo the alcohol-free experiment. My top 3 dumbest jokes I’ve had to listen to:

By the way: the physical recovery continues in the second year of abstinence. I have significantly improved in terms of performance and quality of life, I am ill less often, sleep much better and do significantly more sport.

Yes, sometimes I like to think back to drunken nights with friends, to boozy evenings where we laughed a lot and had fun. But the memory of it lasts much longer if you don’t keep fogging your brain.

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Every third German has a fatty liver. Unhealthy eating, such as on the holidays, puts many at risk of liver cirrhosis, heart disease and dementia. The liver would be a real regeneration miracle – with the right food. What harms the liver and what is good for it.