With people focusing on their mental health and wellness now more than ever, a new breed of 'sober curious' folk - those who drink less or not at all - is cropping up.
Indeed, Dry January is on the rise, with 4.2 million people taking part in 2019 and 38% of the population going sober at the start of 2020. Countless brands are jumping on the back of the nation's thirst for sobriety, with the world’s largest drinks company, Diageo, buying out the world's first distilled non-alcoholic spirit, Seedlip, and the likes of Heineken and Budweiser releasing low-alcohol iterations.
"We are entering into a new age of what it means to be sober in 2020," said Emily Syphas, the pioneer behind, Sober & Social; the new-age of socialising that provides fun, support and exciting, alcohol-free events at some of London's premier venues for people living or exploring a teetotal lifestyle.
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Welcome to 2020💥 . .I want to introduce myself as I know we have lots of new followers. My name is Emily and I set up Sober & Social in October 2018 after going sober on the 6th April 2018💥 . .I wanted to create events where alcohol wasn’t the main event and where having fun, meeting new friends, conversation and connection was the main focus💥 . .I wanted to empower others to feel confident and comfortable socialising sober and break down the stigma that being sober is boring💥 . .I want everyone to feel welcome whether you’re sober sober, sober curious a mindful drinker or drinker drinker and just want to explore something different. You are all welcome without judgment wherever you might be on your journey💥 . .We run varied events from sober bar crawls, yoga and brunches, day raves, boat cruises, walks and sober sharing circle💥 . .I initially didn’t want an Instagram account as my main focus is people meeting in REAL life. I’m a massive believer in community, connection and conversation which is at the very heart of what we do at S&S💥 . .Im glad I took the plunge and set up our insta so we can all connect and support each other in IRL and online❤️ . .If you would like to follow more of a personal journey please head to @emilysyphas and if your ready to meet IRL head to our bio to grab a ticket for our biggest EVER party on the 23rd January💫 . .I look forward to building a bigger sober community, breaking down sober stigma and sharing sober adventures with you all💥 . .2020 let’s make it count💥 . . @lateef.photography
A post shared by Sober & Social(@sober_and_social) on Jan 1, 2020 at 2:29am PST
In 2018, Emily started Sober & Social with an aim to empower people to feel comfortable and confident socialising without alcohol by creating a sober community through sober events.
"We are breaking down the stigma of what it means to be sober by making sobriety cool," she said. "If the alcohol industry can glamourise alcohol then I’m going to glamourise being sober."
Working with London’s hottest venues and brands, Sober & Social hosts monthly events such as a sober day rave at The Ned to sober bar crawls with Seedlip Drinks, alongside sober sharing circles to provide a safe place for others to talk about their sobriety journeys. If this wasn’t enough, she has a day job heading up the nightlife division for the world’s largest concierge company - and organises countless evening events totally sober.
Explaining her decision to go booze-free, Emily told us: "There is nothing glamorous about throwing up in the street at the end of the night, being so drunk you can no longer string a sentence together, wasting a day feeling ill in bed, going home with someone you don’t even fancy and losing your dignity.
"Having deep and connected conversations, waking up feeling fresh, keeping your morals, choosing who you give your body to and remembering everything you did the morning after. Now that’s what I call cool."
And it seems Emily is spearheading a growing movement.
Sober movements are growing and how we socialise is changing. Morning Gloryville is case in point. The immersive morning dance party has gained major momentum, whilst The Mindful Drinking Movement regularly holds sober meet ups and festivals. "How we connect and socialise is changing and these movements are a sign of how the tide is changing," says Emily, who was inspired to set up her own iteration on the back of their success.
"Sober & Social was set up to help others feel empowered to be confident and comfortable while socialising sober. I didn’t want people to have to compromise on their social life and wanted to inspire others on their sobriety journey and offer a new perspective on what it means to be sober. I want to show that’s it’s not about telling others not to drink but to show that there is an option if you don't want to.
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Thank you @crabtreeandevelyn_london for hosting our last sober sharing circle of the year🙏 . .Tonight we were lucky enough to have the amazing and inspirational @jacob_hazell telling his sobriety story. Your story is so powerful and helps so many❤️ . .Human connection, sharing, socialising and building a community really is why Sober & Social was set up and evenings like tonight show how powerful that can be💥 . .Thank you to everyone that attended and for being brave enough to be vulnerable and show up🙌 . .A big shout out to the absolute rockstars @roksoba for supplying us with your amazing Zero Fear Beer 0.0%🤟
A post shared by Sober & Social(@sober_and_social) on Dec 17, 2019 at 1:58pm PST
"The amazing thing about sober socialising is how people think they won’t be able to enjoy themselves and are nervous before they come to an event but when people have gotten over the initial fear, they realise that alcohol is a very small part of the equation of a night out. What really matters is who you are with, the conversation, the connection and the atmosphere. The best thing about sober socialising is waking up the next day with no hangover and no regrets knowing you had an epic night out!"
Whether you’re doing a sober sprint, you’re sober curious or full-time sober, there has never been a better year to explore a new way to socialise. Make 2020 the year of doing things differently, being more conscious and jumping on the wagon.
This article originally appeared on GLAMOUR UK