Sobriety finds Instagram fame. Now that's a sobering thought
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We all know what sobriety used to be: sober, in all meanings of the word.
It was a seltzer with lime instead of Bordeaux with a Michelin-starred meal; a trip to the gym Friday evenings while everyone else hit happy hour. For those with a serious alcohol problem, it was a worthy decision, maybe even a lifesaving one. It could even be fun, when it wasn’t all amends and affirmations. But it had an air of privacy and quiet.
Well, this has changed. It seems not even sobriety will be saved from enjoying a made-for-Instagram moment, with new hashtaggable terms like “mindful drinking” and “sober curious”.
No longer do you have to feel left out or uncool for being sober. You maybe don’t even have to completely stop drinking alcoholic beverages?
This is according to a new generation of kinda-sorta temporary temperance crusaders, whose attitudes toward the hooch is somewhere between Carrie Nation’s and Carrie Bradshaw’s.
To them, sobriety is something less (and more) than a practice relevant only to clinically determined alcohol abusers. Now it can also just be something cool and healthful to try, like going vegan or taking an Iyengar yoga class.
Anonymous? Hardly. No longer is the topic of sobriety confined to discreet meetings in church halls over plastic foam cups of lukewarm Maxwell House.
For these New Abstainers, sobriety is a thing to be, yes, toasted over $15 (about R200) artisanal mocktails at alcohol-free nights at chic bars around the country, or at “sober-curious” yoga retreats, or early-morning dance parties for those with no need to sleep off the previous night’s bender.
Many will tell you they never had a drinking problem. They just had a problem with drinking.
There are the more than 18 000 Facebook followers of a nonprofit called Sober Movement, which promotes sobriety “as a lifestyle”, who post smiling pictures of themselves cartwheeling in the surf or rocking ripped, beer-binge-free abs, appended with hashtags like #soberissexy, #partysober and #endthestigma.
Online, sobriety has become “the new black”, asserts a recovery site called, yes, Hip Sobriety.