PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A growing number of people are taking part in a sober revolution by limiting alcohol or even abstaining altogether. It’s a trend that sprouted from “dry January” when people stop drinking for a month after the holiday season.
Now, more and more people are staying sober or cutting back on drinking for health reasons or because of addiction problems.
Mikaela Berry, 23, is one of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who identify as “sober curious” — drinking less or not at all.
“It’s really hard to be, like, in your early 20s and, you know, doing things that doesn’t revolve around drinking,” Berry said.
“There’s this kind of blind spot in culture where a lot of our social life, and a lot of our nightlife, is exclusively built around alcohol,” Listen Bar founder Lorelei Bandrovschi said.
Bandrovschi created the pop-up, booze-free bar and social space in New York for clear-headed connections.
Big brands like Budweiser and Heineken now sell zero-alcohol beers.
The non-alcoholic beer industry is expected to grow over $25 billion by 2024 and there’s also a slew of alcohol-free spirits saturating the market.
“I think, now, it comes from a place of people being very considerate with their choices,” Bandrovschi said.
The movement is also helping those in recovery.
MJ Gottlieb created the app Loosid to connect people in recovery and the sober curious.
“When I was getting sober, it was diners and coffee shops, right? That was it,” Gottlieb said. “Now, to be able to show sober dating, sober events, sober travel, sober groups.”
Loosid user Philip O’Hara has been in recovery for over three years and says an app like Loosid and sober bars provide a space to socialize safely.
“You have a platform for people to be connected with other sober people. And then the sober curious movement gets brought into it, right? And it turns out you like going to the sober bar. You have more fun. You make more connections. And then you decide on your own that, like, I actually have more fun without alcohol,” O’Hara said.
A new study found abstaining from alcohol could actually boost mental health and well-being.
“It’s a huge part of what’s driving this, you know, sober curious movement, is the amount of mental health and depression issues that people are realizing they can’t solve with substances,” O’Hara explained.
In the past few years, there has been a rising interest in the sober community. On Instagram, there are over 1.2 million posts with the hashtag #SoberLife.
For those of you that do choose to drink, the CDC dietary guidelines for alcohol consumption is one drink a day for women and two a day for men.