Are you planning a dry January? How to Embrace Conscious Consumption

This mindset of moderation might especially appeal to people looking for ways to curb the troubling habits they’ve developed during the pandemic. Studies have shown a dramatic increase in problematic alcohol use over the past year, especially among women. As the pandemic progressed, “we had a real spike in people coming to see us,” said Millie Gooch, who founded the collective Sober Girl Society in 2018. The community connects sober and “curious sober” women for events such as “non-alcoholic brunches”. and virtual breakfast chats.

New York-based writer Ruby Warrington started using the term “sober curious” five years ago. At the time, she said in an interview, her drinking habits seemed to be under control: she never passed out, or even drank more than two nights in a row. But she drank more than she wanted, she didn’t feel able to say no. Ms. Warrington longed for a middle ground approach to drinking: the ability to question her relationship to alcohol without ending it altogether. In 2018 she released “Sober Curious: The Blissful Sleep, Greater Focus, Limitless Presence, and Deep Connection Awaiting Us All on the Other Side of Alcohol”, articulating the philosophy behind what she calls “choosing to question”. his impulse to imbibe. Ms Warrington says questioning one’s drinking habits often leads people to adopt more mindful drinking strategies.

“Collectively, we inherited this history of alcohol that the only way to change your drinking is to hit rock bottom,” said Dru Jaeger, co-founder and director of programs at Club Soda, an online community that has germ. nearly seven years ago in Britain. The group hosts alcohol-free online and in-person social events, as well as free and paid programs that teach members how to cut back on their drinking habits. About half of Club Soda’s more than 70,000 members want to moderate their drinking rather than go totally sober. The group has seen steady growth, particularly in the United States, in recent years, as well as increased interest from people in their twenties concerned about the consequences of drinking alcohol on their mental health.

There is limited scientific evidence on the effectiveness of using mindfulness to moderate drinking behaviors. A 2017 study of 68 heavy drinkers in Britain found that those who received 11 minutes of mindfulness instruction significantly reduced their alcohol consumption the following week. This “microdose of meditation” may have helped participants regulate their emotions, encouraging them to rely on mindfulness when they might otherwise turn to alcohol to cope with stress, said Sunjeev Kamboj, professor of psychology at University College London and lead author of the study. .

The mindful drinking approach also draws on strategies similar to cognitive behavioral therapy, a psychological intervention used to treat depression and anxiety, said Kenneth Stoller, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. By encouraging people to identify the impact of alcohol on their thoughts, feelings and behaviors, mindful drinking can be an effective tool for people wishing to reduce their alcohol consumption, he said, but not for anyone with a serious alcohol problem or alcohol use disorder. .


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