The news will surprise parents of offspring between 15 and 25, those parents who hide their best bottles before leaving for the weekend, but the statistics don’t lie: young people drink less and less! In a recent poll in Europe, like in the United States, 75% recently declared that they “drink only moderately in an evening”. Who’d a thought! The generation that invented the sadly famous “binge drinking” is turning away massively from alcohol. And in the case of a real addiction problem? Social media is there to help. On #sobermovement – the 2018 equivalent of AA, more amusing and less moralizing – you can share confessions and pictures before and after, riveting. The new happy sobriety is printed on T-shirts: “Never Hung-over”, “Tt” (for Teetotaler), “Sober is Sexy”, sold by HipSobriety or The Sober Hipster (!). Blogs and specialized sites, like Girl & Tonic or SoberNation bring together vast communities by publishing manifestos, advice and “non drinking diaries”. And in the best seller by the young English journalist Catherine Gray, “The Unexpected Joy of being Sober” she tells of her years of benders, vomiting everywhere including frequent blackouts (who’s that guy in my bed?) in the purest tradition of Bridget Jones…and reassures us, “I found that sober, I was about a million times happier (…),with more hours in the week, heaps more energy, better skin, a tighter body , a bone-deep sense of wellbeing, a positive outlook and an infinitely more successful career.” What’s not to like about that?
Really? Without this classic social lubricant can we continue to go out, have fun, flirt, celebrate? Of course, the “sober hipsters” tell us. And not only by drinking sophisticated virgin cocktails. For the Millenials music is often a strong disinhibitor. They practice “conscious clubbing” which consists going to a party that is completely abstinent and dancing while completely conscious (hummm). In New York, it’s a “Juice Crawl”, a monthly daytime tour of bars…juice bars, that is, with a “big sound” blasting in their earphones. In London, they hang out in “Redemption” (a whole ‘nother story) in Notting Hill and Shoreditch.
Sober parties seem to inflame the imagination of party planners. The Shine, started in Los Angeles, which targets thirty-somethings, is the most popular. Its program: concerts, performances, movies and meditation sessions. The whole thing generally housed in a very chic co-working space. Logical. The vogue of meditation and yoga (world notably allergic to alcohol) is no stranger to the pervading neo-sobriety. And many young professionals, anguished by pitiless competition, renounce alcohol, mainly to “perform” better at work. The alcohol lobby clearly should be worried. The bars, nightclubs, afterworks…all bastions of the bender, are falling one after the other. When are we going to witness bachelor parties or spring break in Cancun in “good conscious”? We can’t wait to see that!