Is Sobriety the New Fad?

So, sobriety appears to be trending with millennials, their finding social fun and gatherings that are alcohol free. Are you trending that way too?

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Total Votes : 13

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Alcohol has become a staple of America’s social culture, particularly in younger years. Many people start when they’re teenagers which can contribute to turning relatively frequent alcohol consumption into a lifestyle, particularly on the weekends. And social pressure does not help against this at all.

However, according to The Atlantic, there has been a surprising trend over the years regarding alcohol consumption, and one you may not have noticed with the naked eye. And that is the drinking habits among millennials.

A millennial is often categorized as someone born between the early 1980s and mid-to-late 1990s, and it’s among this group where there has been a downward trending of alcohol consumption. Instead, they are opting towards a sober-heavy life, and it’s continued onto Generation X.

Per Dr. Jang, a researcher at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, adolescent and binge drinking has dropped since the early 2000s, which would help explain the slowing growth of alcohol. In 2017 alone, beer growth fell from 3.2% to 0.5% and wine shrunk from 5.4% to 1.9%. And simultaneously, the belief is that the market for low-to-non-alcoholic drinks will grow by a third.

What defines this take on sobriety? Is it completely shutting out alcohol, or just cutting down from every weekend to something more occasion-based like one or two nights a month?

And what exactly is causing this change? Could it be the national and state-level policies that target underage drinking? Different influences from the company you surround yourself with? Is it not having the financial luxury of weekly purchases? Is it merely realization at an earlier age that you don’t need alcohol? Could it also be the preference of marijuana to drinking because of the lasting effects, or lack thereof?

A report from 2017 showed that in counties where medical marijuana was legalized, alcohol sales dropped 12% compared to similar counties where pot wasn’t present.

“The overall declines in frequent binge drinking indicate that national and state-level policies and programs targeted at underage drinking may have been effective, although I’m not sure to what extent each of the policies specifically contributes to the declines,” Jang said.

One thing is for sure, and that’s millennials are more health conscious at a younger age than earlier generations were, which could help explain a lot.

“People are more invested in their overall wellbeing [these days],” Ruby Warrington, founder of Club Söda NYC and author of the book Sober Curious, told Bustle. “As we change our diet, work out regularly and adopt other wellness practices, it becomes harder to reconcile the way alcohol really makes us feel. I think a lot of people are beginning to ask if a few hours of ‘pressing pause’ on stress, anxiety, or loneliness is worth the inevitable payoff the morning after.”

Britta Starke, an addictions therapist and the program director of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Center at the University of North Carolina said, “There does come a time when there has to be some introspection. Folks in the Millennial generation have maybe a better sense of balance. Some do yoga or meditation or are physically active, so they don’t need to find stimulation and stress reduction in substances.”

Abstaining from or cutting down on alcohol would follow this pattern to a dot and it’s this trend that has introduced us to the term sober curious, which is the general idea of understanding that alcohol has its consequences, so you are willing to avoid it at many social gatherings, but not to the extent where you put a full-time restriction on yourself.

“Identifying as sober curious prevents us from falling into a black and white way of thinking, feeling, and behaving,” psychotherapist Alison Stone told Bustle. “It can help us better understand our relationship with alcohol, too — when do we drink more than we intended to? Are we drinking because we want to, or because we feel we need to? Having curiosity opens up the possibilities to better understand ourselves and our motives for doing things.”

And there are already young people who are feeling the benefits of the decision.

“I’ve already calculated how much I’m saving by not drinking, and I’m thinking about where I can put that money now,” Alex Belfiori, a 30-year-old IT professional in Pittsburgh, says.

Nina Serven, a 24-year-old brand manager, living in Brooklyn said, “Drinking just feels boring and needlessly expensive,” she says, even though she feels social pressure to drink. “I just started a medication that shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol, and I’m relieved that I have an easy out.”

“I drank pretty regularly in my 20s, especially in social situations,” says Leanne Vanderbyl, who lives in San Francisco. “It wasn’t until I hit my 30s that I realized that alcohol was no longer my friend.”

The health benefits to such a lifestyle are tremendous, and maybe we get to the point where social pressure will be not to drink. You can read more about this article on The Atlantic.

Here’s how people on the Zip app are weighing in on this all over the country!

So, sobriety appears to be trending with millennials, their finding social fun and gatherings that are alcohol free. Are you trending that way too?

47% I've cut back
53% Cheers to me
42% I've cut back
58% Cheers to me
58% I've cut back
42% Cheers to me

I’ve cut back

Cheers to me

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