Whether they're "sober curious," abstaining for health reasons, in recovery, or simply not interested in imbibing, more and more people are choosing to eliminate or cut back on alcohol these days, all year long: According to a NielsenIQ survey, 22% of respondents reported reducing their alcohol use in 2021. That means, of course, if you want or need to celebrate the holidays sober this year, you'll have plenty of company, at least in spirit. (And we have tips!)
Bloomberg health news writer Fiona Rutherford is among those embarking on the season sober. As she writes in Bloomberg Prognosis, she initially worried about social challenges and missing out on the festive mood. To get some advice on going dry, she spoke to a number of experts, including makers of alcohol-free beverages and Maeve O'Neill, EVP of addiction and recovery here at All Sober.
But Rutherford also got some perspective on a broader cultural shift: "It's become more acceptable to pass on the pint for no reason in particular," she writes, "much the way skipping out on meat gained popularity not so long ago."
Maeve O'Neill told me that she has observed another cultural shift, too: People are far more comfortable being transparent about their reasons for not drinking.
There can still be pressure to drink: I've experienced this myself these past couple of months. Sometimes it shows up in a look of disappointment or speculation that I'm pregnant. In those situations, O'Neill says, the best thing to do is to stay strong. A prepared response can help ward off the peer pressure quickly. Something like, "I just wanted to give not drinking a try," or "I'm discovering alcohol is a problem for me, and I'm choosing to take a look at it."
"It's also OK to say, 'No particular reason, I just don't want to drink right now,'" O'Neill says.
Read more insights on how and why to try out "dry December" in the full article from Bloomberg Prognosis. And if you're in recovery, be sure to check out our tips on navigating the holidays sober.