Dry January started as a collective and motivational way to recover from silly season drinking and stick to New Year resolutions. Since then, more initiatives that encourage participants to abstain from drinking, like Sober October and Dry July (which raises money for cancer sufferers), have become popular throughout the year.
Initially, the goal of group challenges like these was about general health and fitness. But now people are interested in cutting down on alcohol to improve mental health and wellbeing. These days, increased energy, better quality sleep, anxiety management, and greater control over life choices are common incentives for drinking less.
These advantages have given rise to a whole new industry of sober apps, community groups, podcasts, Masterminds, blogs, courses, coaches, Instagram accounts and downloadable resources. Instead of encouraging you not to drink for a certain period, they help you redefine your relationship to alcohol as an ongoing lifestyle choice.
Which is great, because you can get access to valuable insights, motivation and knowledge. But it’s important to find the right resource for you. If you’re keen to enjoy the occasional drink, you probably don’t want to join a group just for non-drinkers for instance. Each community has different approaches, costs, and engagement too. Check out the sober groups listed here to find what works for you.
One Year No Beer
Let’s start with the big guns. So many sales funnels! These guys are passionate about the benefits of giving up drinking and have turned that passion into a global movement (based in the UK, there’s talk of chapters opening in cities around the world). They’ve also turned it into a lot of rabbit holes to get stuck in wherever you enter from. There’s free video hacks, success stories, blogs, the obligatory podcast, Facebook groups, and of course, a Mastermind for when you’re free and clear and want to go the extra mile in realising your true sober potential. But their bread and butter is the 28 / 90 / 365 day challenges they’re known for, and that you pay for. Quite successful by all accounts. The thing they all have in common is an “attack the beast!” and it’s “soooo good over here” quality. It’s probably suitable for people who have been drinking casually for decades and don’t mind reading (so much content) some in-ya-face ra-ra motivation. Think: you’re-gonna–CRUSH-IT!-type lingo.
Another UK-based group, the co-founder behind Club Soda, Laura Willoughby, stopped drinking and started this refreshing community because she was “a dickhead with booze”, and felt there was, “something missing to help people on a self-guided journey to change their drinking habits”. Between her and her offsider, Dru Jaeger, they produce an enormous volume of content, a lot of which you can access for free before you decide to invest in joining any courses. They list lots of resources on their website, including a good book list, conduct podcasts and live talks on Instagram, and craft prompts for you to conduct your own mindful analysis. Even though we can’t access them from Singapore, we particularly like their focus on building community through social events that really show people how well you can live with less alcohol.
This uplifting Aussie group, started by ex-wine mum Faye Lawrence, does good stuff when it comes to providing fun social activities, pandemic notwithstanding. Instead of focusing so much on whether you drink or not, they’re using events as a way to change behaviour: by demonstrating and doing, they’re shifting the conversation towards what you can do without alcohol instead of naval gazing so much on what it’s done and what you can’t do.
Sober & Social
There’s an exclusivity surrounding this group that makes it feel a little bit more mature and elevated than some other groups out there. Sober coach, Emily, curates an uplifting, warm and inviting experience via Instagram that works to convert those looking for an improved lifestyle, to sign up to the Sober & Social digital gated community, where members can access transformative courses, groups and brands. Some of these members are then cleverly featured on the Instagram account telling their stories, which provides powerful incentive for yet more sober curious peeps to sign up. If you want a groomed and sophisticated approach to making a change, this looks like a nice concierge service to help you do the work. Have a listen to the Sober Sips podcast (they interview Millie Gooch from Sober Girl Society as listed below) and decide for yourself.
Sober Mates bills itself as a community, an educational platform, and a place where you can explore your drinking habits. There’s a brief website with a few blogs, but it redirects to an Instagram account where the posts have the look of an organised group but is really the first person journey of a woman named Sam (had a chuckle at the post where she discusses the pain of Cards of Humanity when you’re not drinking). Her mission is to give shelter to anyone questioning their drinking habits under the scrutiny of Australian drinking culture, and it feels like there’s potential to grow this intention beyond Instagram. But for now, there doesn’t seem to be a heap of interaction. What we like is that no matter what your drinking preference, you’re welcome here to pick up some encouragement and facts. The thing that everyone has in common is the chance to gently probe their approach to drinking and decide if they want to change anything.
Sober Girl Society
There’s a lot of pink and purple here! This is a support network for women have decided to break up with booze, so it’s probably best suited to those who want to be and remain sober. It’s a US-based group driven by lifestyle writer, Millie Gooch, so the events aspect of this group may not be relevant to you. There are some useful blogs and Quit Lit features on the website, if you don’t mind things a little hardcore. One cute feature is that you can find sober curious hobby pals! The Instagram account is really peppy, but it does feel like a sales vehicle for offloading merch, including books, pins, and drink sets. THIS IS A BRAND. Best suited to those that like a ra-ra rallying approach to motivate them.
This Naked Mind
Join the Movement! shouts one of the headings on the website. Yet, this is not really a group – more one-woman world domination of the sober sector. Coach, Annie Grace is transforming lives one book / post / podcast / profile / free resource / program at a time. And it would be remiss not to include her in this list, because she is so prolific and provides a wealth of free information that you can access in order to decide whether you want to join a group or not. With a self-help type flavour, this is motivational to the max, with group therapy tones.
This is an app based community that seems to have a bit of cool factor. Their mission is to show people that sober does not equal boring. Case in point: the sober dating function. Of course, there’s chat groups and channels for conversations on all sorts of cultural topics that need to be navigated in a new way, with less alcohol, like the pandemic we’re living through. There’s lots of advice on how to manage these things plus boozeless guides that encourage conversation so the cultural shift around drinking can move forward. You can read more about the app here (hyperlink to other article). Take a look at the stigma-busting 3 fingers challenge they’re running on Instagram.
Hello Sunday Morning
Want to reclaim your weekend after a Saturday night out? This lot will help you. Hello Sunday Morning is an Australian based non-profit group that helps all sorts of drinking types connect via an app called Daybreak. It was created by an ex-club promoter who is now on a mission to encourage the world to question its approach to drinking, so we can all feel better. The app community feed function is chatty and easy to use, and you can remain anonymous while holding yourself accountable and receiving encouragement. Honest and no frills. They feature a hero of the week on their Instagram too. Check out more about the app (hyperlink to other article)
Want to find some tools to help you change your relationship with alcohol? Check out Apps For Mindful Drinking for more inspiration.