“Sober Bars” Offer Health-Conscious Adults and Recovering Alcoholics, a Booze-Free Social Life


Going to a bar and having a drink seems to be the go-to social activity for many adults. Alcohol seems to fit right in at every event, whether it’s a birthday or a wedding or even a funeral wake, alcohol is everywhere.

According to a new study published in JAMA Psychiatry, one out of every eight adults in the United States is an alcoholic. Even if you don’t want to drink it can be difficult to go to a bar without dealing with the pressure of having an alcoholic drink.

On the other hand, there are some people who just don’t feel like socializing in a drink-soaked bar, and see the negatives of alcohol – the hangovers, DUIs, and the many problems of excessive alcohol use such as fatty liver disease, depression and various cancers.

Alcohol-free drinks are becoming increasingly popular across the United States, with new “sober bars” springing up for those that want a healthy alternative to alcohol and for recovering addicts and alcoholics seeking some company.

The bars look like any other bar. But for one thing – no alcohol. Instead, you can socialize with sober beverages such as matcha tea frappes, fruity juices, creative non-alcoholic cocktails, and even an ice-cold non-alcoholic beer such as Coors 0.0.

You can find one such bar at Cherokee Recovery Village in Barstrop, Texas.

As KEYE reports, on first inspection, the village looks like a traditional tavern, or British pub—it’s dark, dingy and its shelves are filled with non-alcoholic beverages.

But instead of Jaegermeister and Tequila, patrons are offered kombucha and coffee and are encouraged to take part in traditional pub fare such as karaoke, fundraising events, and community dinners.

Paul French, former addict himself and owner of Cherokee Recovery Village said that, “the venue’s ambiance is offering crucial help for those in recovery.”

He explained:

“This is exposing yourself to trigger intentionally to weaken those triggers.”

“It will allow you to eventually go into establishments where there’s drinking and partying and craziness and it won’t affect you as strongly as it did.”

You can come in and you can drink. We only have healthy beverages.”

The “sober bar” is a great way for people to remain focused and committed to their 12-step program outside of the confines of their Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.

French added:

“People need connection once they start a recovery program.”

Those who are sober curious have also found the sober bar scene attractive as despite its name, the Cherokee Recovery Village isn’t only for recovering addicts.

French said:

“It has really wakened people up on the health benefits of getting sober even if it’s just for a short period of time.”

Ember Zenchyshyn, is a former alcohlic who has now been sober for 3 years. She admits that alcohol ruined her life and admits to drinking until she couldn’t anymore. She states that the dry tavern not only provides an alternative, fun lifestyle option, but it also prepares her for when she inevitably goes back to the bar—and has the willpower to say no to a drink.

She said:

“You’re not going to be able to avoid stuff forever.

It’s life, you just don’t want to get into recovery to stop living life, you’re getting into recovery to enjoy life.”

Susie Liberty
Susie is a ridiculously good journalist and writer, highlighting critical stories from around the world. She's one of the most intelligent people we've ever met and if she's not writing something mind-blowing, she'll be reading something mind-blowing!

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