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Lisa Jarvis

Dry January? Yes! Free-for-All February? Not So Fast.

There are benefits to a four-week detox, but the real upside is a change in long-term behavior.

Easy there.

Easy there.

Photographer: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

We’re almost done with Dry January, a transatlantic experiment in abstention that started a decade ago in the UK. The concept of an annual break from drinking has become something of a cultural phenomenon, with some 15% of adults in the US and UK participating this year.

The biggest benefit of Dry January seems to be in forcing us all to reflect honestly on our relationship with alcohol: how often and how much we drink, our triggers for drinking more, and how alcohol might be affecting our day-to-day lives.