What you should be doing instead
It might not have a catchy name or a convenient hashtag, but a safer and more effective alternative to Dry January is simply controlling the amount you drink over a long period of time.
"If you are really looking to change your relationship with alcohol, to scale back, or even take a hard look at it, you are much better off just trying to drink in moderation, over time," Romano said.
For instance, if you usually drink two glasses of wine while cooking dinner on Thursday, try drinking one. Or instead of drinking any wine while cooking dinner during the week, set a hard rule that you'll only drink on the weekends. If you normally go out and drink a lot on Saturday night, try setting a two-drink limit before cutting yourself off. Not only will this help you curb your consumption, it will also allow you to do so at a gradual pace, in ways that you can incorporate into your regular life -- instead of simply enduring a brief period of sobriety, then heading right back in the wrong direction.
"Teach yourself some healthy behaviors and try to instill them in your routine. Set limits for yourself and stick to them. This will teach you behaviors that you can continue to use. Everyone is different. But limiting your consumption this way is much healthier, and you'll probably find more long-lasting success," Romano said. "You aren't going to learn any behavior modification going cold turkey. You are basically just going from one extreme to the other. And in that case, what's the point?"
There's no harm in having a couple drinks a week -- but there is some potential harm in participating in Dry January. If you really want to cut down on your drinking -- or evaluate your relationship with alcohol -- you are pretty much wasting your precious time. Unlike Homer Simpson, your liver is not animated… and you can't stay 39 forever.