Last Updated on March 31, 2021
Whenever a hot new trend pops up, it’s often referred to as “the new black.” Often this involves fashion, music, or social activities. But one of the latest movements to gain traction may surprise some people—has sober socializing become cool?
The answer for many people, especially millennials, is a resounding “yes.” While socializing may once have meant heavy drinking at a bar, these days a night out could just as easily mean an evening of alcohol-free adult beverages. Let’s look at this rising trend, and how you might take advantage of it to have a great time while pursuing a healthier lifestyle.
How Sobriety Became “Cool” Again
The concept of sobriety tends to push people into a binary mindset—you’re either a tee-totaler or a drinker. But the word “drinker” can mean all sorts of things, from someone who enjoys the occasional beer to a person who battles constant alcohol cravings. By the same token, someone who generally prefers not to drink might want to have a glass of wine every once in a while.
The desire for a clearer social “middle-ground” has been growing. One recent study found that almost one-third of drinkers1 would like to reduce their alcohol consumption. The trouble is that this can often be socially isolating. What if you want to go out on Friday night and party with your friends, but not drink anything?
Enter the sober curious movement. Many people have started giving themselves extended dry spells through socially-recognized channels like Dry January. And after experiencing greater mental clarity and physical well-being, many have chosen to stick with moderation, or even total sobriety. This trend has recently crystallized under the term “sober curious.” With it has come a range of social and nightlife options that cater to people who drink less, or not at all.
An Alcohol-Free Social Life
With the growth of the sober curious trend, a variety of venues have begun catering to the demand for alcohol-free fun. Sober-focused bars and nightclubs now sport impressive menus of non-alcoholic drinks, tailored to adult palates accustomed to cocktails. Some of these “mocktails” contain common mixers like seltzer, fruit juice, or good old-fashioned cola. Others offer imitation liquors, or even ingredients which claim brain-boosting or health-enhancing properties. Along with these new social venues have come trends like sober dance parties and sober curious meetups. Sobriety seems to have become a hot new trend among millennial professionals2.
Benefits of Sober Socializing
It goes without saying that a sober curious lifestyle offers some significant rewards—from greater overall wellness, to fewer worries about losing control in social environments. Many feel that removing alcohol allows them to be more present in the moment3, and have better connections with other people. It’s nice to know that what you’re feeling isn’t just the result of what you’ve been drinking.
Because alcohol is a depressant, drinking less can also help with your overall mental health. Recent research4 shows that people who quit alcohol often experience a boost in their psychological well-being.
But “sober curious” also doesn’t have to mean total sobriety, which is part of why it’s becoming so popular. You can incorporate non-alcoholic venues and events into your life, and still drink in other situations when you want to. What these new social environments create is less pressure to drink, and the development of a culture less dependent on alcohol.
The result is that whether or not you drink is finally becoming less of a polarizing issue. It may soon seem completely normal to choose a lovely “mocktail” over your usual booze of choice—just because you feel like it.
Help With Getting Sober
Of course, none of this should be taken as an argument that getting sober is always easy. For some, drinking less or quitting may be a significant life event, and a long journey. If you are in that position, there are new options.
Ria Health’s program lets you to access medical counseling, recovery coaches, medications for alcoholism, and much more—all from your personal device. With the help of medications like naltrexone, you may even be able to cut back without quitting completely.
And that’s where these new trends are especially useful, because once you’ve established new patterns, you will have wider options for an alcohol-free social life. The moderation you can achieve with naltrexone might even dovetail perfectly with the new sober curious lifestyle! There’s never been a better time to cut back or quit drinking alcohol.