Is the end of alcohol near? Glamorous influencers are blending science and superstition to help people “change their relationship to drinking.” Did I miss out by getting sober the old-fashioned way?
SOBRIETY IS A big thing these days.
The hip crosswalk woman was right. And she was especially right if sobriety has something to do with “changing your relationship to drinking,” talking about it all the time, and exploiting sobriety’s market potential. Instagram is fully awash in pastel George Herberts—dancing soberfluencers who soberglow while soberaf. The 21st century has been a boon to young abstainers who reject the word alcoholic, and to anyone who wants to quit drinking without becoming a sad sack or a prig.
It’s hard to know when AA lost its luster. One starting point is the early aughts. Since then, an increasingly robust swath of people testing the zero-proof waters of sobriety has sworn off drink and joined the international reverse-rave known as Dry January. In 2013, Dry January launched as a branded public-health initiative in the UK, attracting some 4,000 people. By 2021, that number had jumped to 130,000. The fever for abstemiousness also caught on in the US, which will forever be known as both puritanical and hedonistic; the challenge of refraining from drinking for 31 days has seemed to energize those eager to observe secular Lents. Last January, nearly one in five American adults tried Dry January.
The End of Alcohol
For years, too, there’s been a stampede of self-help books by alcohol skeptics, most of them women, many of whom once had trouble drinking not the third bottle. These books have included My Unfurling, by Lisa May Bennett; Her Best-Kept Secret, by Gabrielle Glaser; This Naked Mind, by Annie Grace; The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober, by Catherine Gray; Mindful Drinking, by Rosamund Dean; Drink?, by David Nutt; Sober Curious, by Ruby Warrington; and Quit Like a Woman, by Holly Whitaker. The subtitles run together, but they make big promises. If they follow the instructions, readers of these books—and listeners to adjacent and spin-off podcasts, including Recovery Happy Hour and Edit Podcast—will break up with alcohol, emerge from the grip of anxiety, radically defy patriarchy and capitalism, and become happy, healthy, and even wealthy. As 12-steppers will tell you, traditional recovery from alcoholism guarantees none of these marvels.
Are you ready for the end of alcohol?
Is it time to end the control alcohol has over you? Start reading This Naked Mind now and find your freedom!
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