Sober Recovery is ‘Hip’ In 2019
• Culture Shift: ‘Booze Culture’ Losing Popularity •
Mindfulness and Health Consciousness are Making Sobriety Cool
A major obstacle for relapse prevention in alcohol use disorder has always been the pervasive nature of alcohol in our culture. And the social stigma of drinking non-alcoholic club soda at business meetings and social gatherings.
The exciting news for those in recovery: There is a growing health-conscious trend towards ‘no alcohol’.
In 2019 – suddenly sobriety is cool. There is a growing culture shift away from alcohol as a social ritual. More and more individuals are becoming ‘Sober Curious‘.
Mocktails and Mindfulness – More Fun in Relapse Prevention
The booze culture ‘happy hour’ is beginning to lose its appeal. Sober, mindful, after-work activities are appearing across the U.S. – from Los Angeles and Silicon Valley to NYC.
Non-alcoholic happy hours are making social interactions more meaningful – and the morning after a lot more happy.
A cultural shift to sobriety is welcome news! And perhaps it indicates that more individuals are striving to deepen (and actually remember) tangible connections with others.
Mindfulness Recovery and Relapse Prevention
Mindfulness refers to a moment-to-moment awareness of mental processes and habitual reactions – without judgement or acting on impulses (Mikulas, 2011). Just 11 minutes of mindfulness training may help heavy drinkers cut back on alcohol, according to new research in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Mindfulness involves learning to focus on the present moment.
Other strategies sometimes used to combat addiction try to eliminate cravings or emphasize ‘will power’. Mindfulness guides practitioners to observe and acknowledge cravings – and respond with compassion and the intention to remain sober.
With mindfulness training – addictive cravings and reactions are not destiny. With mindfulness, habitual impulses and trigger reactions are noticed and acknowledged – but there is no follow through with action. Holistic addiction recovery centers have incorporated mindfulness training into rehab and relapse prevention.
Some Side Effects of Alcohol Use Disorder
- Failing health – caused by a number of factors related to alcohol.
- Beauty Issues – Heavy alcohol drinking causes bloating and/or facial puffiness; and bloodshot eyes.
- Rosacea, a skin disorder that starts with a tendency to flush easily and can eventually lead to facial disfigurement, is linked to alcohol.
- Weight Gain from the extra calories in alcoholic drinks.
- Weight Loss when liver failure and other side effects of AUD occur.
- Hungover heavy drinkers often smell unpleasantly like alcohol. The liver processes most of the alcohol consumed – but some of it leaves the body through your breath, sweat and urine.
- DUI convictions or auto accidents.
- Mental confusion and loss of emotional regulation.
- Increases chances of cancer and Alzheimer’s.
- Job loss.
Sober Trends Nationwide
A sobering trend is happening in major cities across the U.S.
In New York City, Listen Bar brands itself “All Bar, No Booze.” Mixologists create herb-infused drinks with names like “She Pretty” and “Ghost me Maybe.”
The Sans Bar, in Austin, Texas has shelves of drinks and bottled offerings from specialty brands like Dry Soda Co. “We also handcraft our own specialty ‘mocktails’ — things like a rosemary and ginger mule, or a sans-garita, which incorporates lime, agave and apple cider vinegar,” said founder Chris Marshall, who used to work as an addiction recovery counselor.
Sans Bar is running more alcohol-free events in cities and states across the country this year. The company has hosted events in St. Louis, Portland and Alaska.
Alcoholism Among Women Increasing
A 2017 JAMA Psychiatry study discovered alcoholism is on the rise among women, minorities, older adults and low-income people.
From 2007 to 2017, deaths attributed to alcohol rose 35 percent. Among women, deaths increased 85 percent, reports USA Today. Middle-aged women saw the biggest increases in ER visits due to binge drinking between 2006 and 2014.
Alcohol consumption increases cancer risk along the digestive tract. And alcohol is the cause for about 15 percent of breast cancer cases. Other recent research has linked alcohol consumption to Alzheimer’s.
More than 5 million women have alcohol use disorder, according to 2015 data from The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The NIAAA points out that women exhibit different drinking patterns than men. And, women’s bodies process alcohol differently than men. This means greater risks of liver damage, heart disease and breast cancer than men. Federal dietary guidelines recommend to one drink a day for women, compared to up to two drinks for men.
Sober Curious and Enjoying Life More
Millennials and Gen Zers are drinking less than previous generations did at their ages, Business Insider reports.
New Start Recovery Solutions hopes the ‘hip sober’ trend will spread far and wide and become a new cultural standard – instead of the exception.
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