Sober support groups have taken off right alongside an increase in alcohol consumption during the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought lots of uncertainty, pushing many Americans to their limits. The stress — coupled with liquor stores being deemed essential business — fueled a rise in alcohol consumption. But a full year in, it’s leading to another trend: sobriety.
“I knew that that was not going to be sustainable. Drinking several nights a week just to sort of numb out the stress of what we were all dealing with,” said Laurie Bardon Syphard.
Laurie’s pandemic story isn’t unique. Her husband began working from home, and her two kids started schooling remotely. Cue the endless jokes about drinking, just to make it through the day.
One study shows a 400% increase in severe alcohol dependence between April and September of 2020. Researchers point to stress as a key factor. Addiction specialists say it’s not totally surprising. Healthy coping mechanisms, like meeting with a friend or going to the gym, became unavailable.
Finding Sober Support Groups
For Laurie, support groups like the Sober Mom Squad — created during the pandemic — have been a big motivator. She also points to online sobriety communities, like This Naked Mind, which saw 90,000 people join its signature alcohol experiment since March of 2020.
“In May, we had a record alcohol experiment. That’s a 30-day challenge I run, and we had more people than we’ve ever had outside of January, which is always a record month,” said Annie Grace, founder of This Naked Mind.
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