At 8 o'clock on Saturday night, people start gathering in a popular bar called Harvard and Stone, in a neighborhood of East Los Angeles. The chakra becomes stronger when the drink begins to flow.
In the far corner, a group of about a dozen women also enjoy themselves but do not drink alcohol. They drink handcrafted cocktails with names such as Baby's First Bourbon and Med de Collins, with spirits distilled from soft drinks. They are part of a sober social club composed mostly of 30 years old women who want to have fun and become friends without alcohol.
The members of this club work, have difficult jobs, and just do not want to feel anymore foggy or gloomy. Without alcohol, they say they just feel better.
"Oh, my God, well, one thing that was noticeable to almost everyone was my overall health and, like my skin, my eyes … I lost weight," says Stephanie Forte, who works in cosmetics
Another member of the social club, Kathy Kuznjar, says she has insulted if there is enough wine in the house, she says she has felt more relaxed since she became sober and lost 30 pounds. Again, I'm creative, "says Kuznjar," and I know I will not do these things if I still drink. "
Not long ago a group of women in a bar who did not drink alcohol According to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 86% of adults over 1
"Not everyone wants to get lost when he goes to the bar," says Forte. Sometimes when you're there, you just want to be social and fit.
The "sober curiosity" or "sober sometimes" movement began as a challenge for those who felt they had spent too much of the New Year's Eve weekend. First it was "Dry January", when people could boast in social media about how to make a break from alcohol. Now there is "Dry Jul" and even "Own September". And the movement has spread throughout the country with people who try to see each other's life without alcohol and share this experience.
Instagram accounts like Sober Girl and Sober Nation have tens of thousands of followers, and Ruby Worrington. , author of the book Sober Curious: Blessed sleep, greater focus, infinite presence and deep connection that awaits us all on the other side of alcohol, which was released in December
there is no disadvantage for a break from drinking alcohol – or going out altogether – science is just beginning to study the ways in which abstinence can be good for you. Short trips improve health
There are several studies that point to some benefits of abstinence even for moderate drinkers – in addition to widely recognized benefits for people who have alcohol abuse disorders.
A British study of about 850 years of men and women who voluntarily refrained from drinking during dry January found that participants reported a number of benefits. For example, 82% say they feel an achievement. A better study published last year by UK researchers compared health outcomes among a group of men and women who agreed to stop taking drink for one month. , compared to the health of a group that continued to consume alcohol.
"They found that at the end of this month – just after one month – people generally lost weight," says Aaron White, senior scientific advisor to the NIAAA Director. "They had improvements in insulin sensitivity, their blood pressure levels improved and their liver looked a little healthier." Improvements are modest, White says, but the wide range of benefits that researchers are documenting is noticeable. document the biochemical effects of one month abstinence from alcohol
The study is a bit. It included only 16 people who had the habit of drinking on average two drinks a day. However, the findings are provocative, scientists say, and deserve to be tracked.
After a break, the researchers measure liver enzyme levels called gamma-glutamyltransferase or GGT. "There is an antioxidant made by the liver called glutathione.You can get an indirect measure of the degree of oxidative stress in the liver by measuring an enzyme called GGT that helps fill up the glutathione foods. researchers documented a decrease in participants' GGT.
"The results of these studies are actually very surprising," White said. The health risks associated with heavy, long-term drinking are well-known, but these are some of the first evidence to help scientists understand how the body responds even to a brief pause of moderate alcohol use.
For drinkers who are addicted to alcohol, making a short break is probably not an option. Many people who drink hard have had no easy way to manage their relationship with alcohol.
Chris Marshall from Austin, Texas has been sober over the past 12 years. He starts drinking at high school, he says, and gets his first DUI at 16. Then he joins a college brotherhood and continues to drink.
"My whole drinking is really focused around the community and I want such a connection with other people," he says.
Finally, he became sober with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, and he became a drug abuse counselor to help "These early days of alcohol abstinence were so severe because I did not have friends," he says, creating the Sans Bar – a sober bar in Austin, open on Friday evening and some Saturdays – a convenient place where people can talk , making sober friends, listening to music and, of course, drinking good non-alcoholic beverages (Marshall likes ginger beer, which he thinks offers a nice burn in the throat that people sometimes miss when they no longer drink alcohol.)
Sans Bar became so popular that Marshall took the concept of the road this year, organizing pop-up bars in Washington, New York and Anchorage, and he opened new sober bars in Kansas City, Mass., Massachusetts.
"What I want to create across the country is these small incubators for social connections," he says.
Marshall has seen many changes in the way people have been watching sobriety over the past 12 years. When you worry, you either drink – or not, he says. There is now a whole spectrum of sobriety. "Not everyone is identified as sober all the time," says Marshall.
He welcomes those who are recovering and those who are just curious about the sober life at Sans Bar, as long as they are free of substance when they arrive while they are there.
"You know, alcohol is the only drug you have to give the reason why you're not doing it," he says.
Rob Zaleski and Kimman Daniel arrive at the Marshall Bar in Austin recently. no alcohol for 30 days, explaining and documenting their experience in a podcast and in the #BoozelessATX Instagram
"We came to the understanding that we drink too often and too much," says They wanted to see what new skills and activities they can to try without consuming alcohol.Today they have found archery lessons playing football flagging motorcycles on a biker rally and joining a free improvisation class
"We find that we can fill our days," sometimes nights are tough, and then they discover a bar without borders
Now, if you worry, that you are one of the 17 million adults in the US who are dependent on alcohol and alcohol causes stress or harm, seek medical help.As we report, there are different treatments outside Alcoholics Anonymous, including counseling, drugs, and support groups that to help people who skate to end this addiction. This NIAAA guide can help you find the right program or approach for you.
But if you can and want to experiment with cutting out alcohol while others around you drink, Marshall offers these tips to stick to it. plans not to drink. Bring a friend who supports you. And the search for a good substitute drink.