This month is Dry January, an annual event that encourages people to stay away from drinking for 31 days. With millions of people giving up alcohol for the month, there is also a new health trend that’s gaining attention for people with non-problematic drinking behavior. It’s called “mindful drinking,” and those who participate in the trend are making a conscious effort to cut down on alcohol and be more careful about their future consumption.
Time reports that there are places like Club Soda NYC, which holds some alcohol-free events, and Daybreaker, which hosts sober “raves,” for those who are looking for alcohol-free places to party and socialize while taking part in the mindful drinking movement.
One woman, Kate Atkinson, who was tired of being hungover and sick, started attending Club Soda, and while she hasn’t quit drinking entirely, she told Time that she has “become more mindful of my decisions and where they might lead.”
Another Club Soda regular who also cut down his drinking to only Friday and Saturday nights added, “I still like alcohol, but I wanted to bring more focus into my life, and less allowance for distraction and covering things up.”
Ruby Warrington, the co-founder of Club Soda, says people who come to their events are “sober curious.”
Warrington’s business partner, Biet Simkin, added that one of the goals of Club Soda is not to help people get sober, but rather to create “mindfulness around drinking, and questioning what effort [people are] actually putting toward bliss in their life, other than shooting mezcal down.”
The term “mindful drinking” is a reference to mindfulness, which, according to Psychology Today, is a state of active, open attention on the present.
As Lodro Rinzler, who runs a meditation studio named MNDFL that offers mindful drinking classes, says the goal for his students is to have “a healthier relationship to [alcohol] than to drink more or less.”
Sarah Bowen, a psychologist, also studied the relationship between mindfulness and drinking, and learned that mindful exercises kept people from relapsing for longer periods of time.
Some have also adopted drinking in moderation as part of a healthier lifestyle where they eschew processed foods, and it helped them zone in on drinking so they could eventually eliminate it.
As Dawn Jackson Blatner, a dietitian, adds, “People want to go gluten-free, people want to go sugar-free. Alcohol is not going to be forgotten about when it comes to all these things people are trying to avoid.”
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