A WOMAN who rose to the challenge of staying alcohol free throughout January is taking the health pledge a step further.
Carrie Gofton, 22, from South Shields, has now set herself a personal challenge to quit alcohol for a year.
Carrie, a cultural apprentice at Bede’s World in Jarrow, said: “I decided to do Alcohol Concern’s Dry January challenge and stay drink free for a month, and couldn’t believe how much better I felt.
“My skin was better and I lost some weight.
“Swapping an alcoholic drink for a soft drink has been really easy, even when I’ve gone out with friends around pubs I’ve not been tempted to have a drink.
“I can honestly say I’ve not missed alcohol at all.
“I would sometimes have nearly a bottle of wine in one night, and before you know it, you’re drinking more than what you realise.
“I really like a challenge, and quitting for a full year is now my goal.”
Carrie is also saving the extra money she would have spent on drink to fund a trip around Europe.
She added: “My holiday will be my reward, and I am really looking forward to it.”
Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, along with South Tyneside Council, encouraged people to take the Dry January challenge and start the New Year with a healthier approach.
Coun Fay Cunningham, the council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “Carrie is an inspiration to us all.
“Completing the Dry January challenge is a major achievement in itself.
“I wish Carrie the best of luck with her challenge. I’m sure she’ll reap the awards by not only having a fantastic holiday, but also feeling much healthier overall.
Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Carrie has done extremely well to complete Dry January so successfully, and it’s great to hear that she intends to continue throughout 2014.
“We wish her every success with this and really hope she achieves her goal.
“A huge number of people across the North East took part in Dry January this year, and we know that many of them were surprised at how little they missed alcohol and intend to cut down on their drinking more permanently as a result.
“We’re hopeful that participating will mean people across South Tyneside and beyond have re-evaluated their levels of drinking, and will be sticking to Government recommended guidelines in future.”