The new buzz is all about...no buzz?

By Laura Fisher
December 17, 2019
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Alcohol seems to be synonymous with having a good time. Celebrating? Have a glass of champagne. Having a rough week? Unwind with some wine. Going to a BBQ? Crack open a beer. Recently, however, there has been a movement towards drinking less, or even not at all.

Wellness influencer and creator of the website Sober Magic Jackie recently proclaimed to her 12.8K followers: “If you want to give your mind, body and soul the self-care it deserves, do something that ACTUALLY raises your vibration... not drinking alcohol, putting yourself in a more depressed state, keeping you stuck.” There are retreats being offered in Baja for those who are interested in a week of adventure without the mixed drinks and booze-free bars opening in traditionally party-heavy locales like Manhattan. It seems like abstaining is no longer just for those with health complications or a history of addiction; for many, it’s now the next step on the path to a healthy lifestyle.

Sober Curious

It’s not that people haven’t already been skipping drinks for the sake of health, but for the first time, it’s become popular and even championed to forgo a glass of wine with dinner or that after work cocktail. The recent uptick in quasi-sobriety is about drinking (or not) with intention, and staying aligned with a wellness lifestyle. Catching up with your friends doesn’t have to involve happy hour and a hangover that causes you to miss your morning spin class. Ruby Warrington explores the misalignment between our current culture of self-care and seeking happiness and how we consume alcohol in her 2018 book “Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol.”

In the book, Warrington compares experimenting with sobriety to a type of yoga practice: “The Sanskrit word tapas means 'to heat,' and when used in yoga it speaks to the practice of 'standing in the fire for the sake of positive change,' says Stephanie Snyder. Literally, this means holding a difficult pose, feeling the burn as muscles tighten and contract, maintaining the mental focus it takes to stay in the pose—and choosing to endure all this in the name of becoming stronger, more agile, untouchable. Applied metaphorically to our Sober Curiosity, it means sitting in whatever WTF we happen to be experiencing as a result of not drinking, watching it pass, and choosing to focus on the positive parts of the experience.”

This statement underpins the trend of turning abstaining into a spiritual practice, right alongside your morning meditation and lemon water. Regardless of the trend factor, we think everyone can get on board with the health benefits of eschewing alcohol permanently or intermittently, which can include better sleep, improved mood, and clearer skin, just to name a few.

Alcohol-free options

Whether you’re taking a step back to question your relationship with alcohol or simply choose not to imbibe, it doesn’t mean that you’re relegated to soda water with lime. Many restaurants and bars now offer creative “mocktails” that are a far cry away from the sugary, token menu item of the past. If you’re heading to a party or stocking up for home, there are plenty of options for tasty beverages without the booze:

Kombucha

Kombucha is a bubbly, fermented tea that boasts gut-friendly probiotics. It also happens to delicious, comes in many different flavors, and is readily found at stores across the country. I’ve been known to pour a bright pink Guava GT’s kombucha into a wine glass for a festive addition to dinner or movie night.

Flavored sparkling waters

Sparkling water is calorie-free, caffeine-free, and generally a fail-proof drink choice. Companies like La Croix and Stellar Seltzer have made fancy flavors popular, ensuring you won’t be stuck sipping plain bubbly. Check out La Croix’s Curate line for flavor combinations like pineapple strawberry and cherry lime. If you need inspiration, check out our review of 40 different seltzer waters.

RELATED: If Sparkling Water Is Your Drink of Choice, We've Got News for You

Alcohol-free “cocktails”

There are a number of companies making it easier to feel like you’re indulging without the hangover such as Rock Grace, which makes a bottled crystal elixir infused with a variety of botanicals and adaptogens. It’s the perfect alternative to your rosé and makes a satisfying, relaxing go-to drink that still looks pretty as you sip.

You can also make your own fresh virgin drinks at home, like this refreshing rosemary grapefruit spritzer or gingery peach cooler.

CBD

CBD (cannabidiol) is one of the active compounds found in the cannabis plant, but with no THC, it won’t make you high. CBD has been shown to decrease anxiety and help with insomnia, which makes it an excellent alternative to alcohol as an evening beverage. Whether you choose to ingest CBD as a beverage, such as CBD-infused sparkling water, capsules, or oil, it’s a great option for those who want to chill without getting a buzz.

RELATED: If You're Curious About CBD, Give This Comprehensive Guide a Read Before You Try It

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