This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW YORK — The new year is upon us and with that may come some new health and fitness goals like exercising more or eating better, but for some, it’s staying away from alcohol.

Sarah O’Brien, an addiction specialist at Ark Behavioral Health, said it can have an everlasting impact on your health.

“Cutting out alcohol and seeing what benefits that has to do for an individual can be life-changing,” O’Brien said.

The holidays can be a wake-up call for many. The trifecta of Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve, when it’s socially acceptable for alcohol to be flowing for weeks, can be enough for anyone to say, ‘I’ve reached my limit,’ which is why Dry January – 31 days without alcohol – has become a common way to detox.

Instead of picking up a drink after a stressful day at work, O’Brien suggested using different tools.

“Different outlets that are healthier and allow the same endorphins to be released, just not as quickly, can really promote a better lifestyle,” she said.

Giving up alcohol can also help one realize that they may have been using it to cope with mental health issues.

“Suddenly, that fog is starting to lift,” O’Brien said.

With alcoholism, signs to look for in loved ones, she said, may include loss of interest in their favorite hobbies.

“Going to the gym, being involved in sporting activities or whatnot, slipping grades for individuals that are in school still could all be tall tale signs that maybe someone is struggling,” O’Brien said.

Irritability and restlessness are also behaviors to look out for.

If you’re serious about Dry January, O’Brien said to be open with family and friends.

“If you’re going to a party or going out to dinner, the individuals that you’re with aren’t tempted to offer you a drink or order you one prior to you getting there,” O’Brien said.

The biggest tip, she added, is to not be hard on yourself. If you slip up and have a drink, she said it’s okay because progress is not a straight line and to move forward one step at a time.