If you’re in recovery from alcohol addiction, you may have vowed never to step foot inside a bar again. But did you know there are such things as “sober bars?” These bars, where the hardest thing on tap is root beer, can be excellent recovery tools. Unfortunately, statistics show that between 40 and 60 percent of people in recovery for substance use disorders will relapse. So finding activities that you enjoy with friends you can be around without drinking is essential for your recovery. Sober bars provide a way for you to accomplish those goals while having a great time enjoying tasty mocktails, socializing, and having fun. Keep reading to learn more about sober bars and how they can help your recovery journey.
Are you or a loved one struggling to break free from the grips of addiction? Olympus Recovery can help. Call us today at 866-305-7134 to learn more about our substance abuse treatment programs.
What is a Sober Bar?
If you’re looking for an answer to the question, ‘what is a sober bar?’ You’re in the right place.
A sober bar is a bar that only serves non-alcoholic drinks. This style of bar is relatively new. Some sober bars that have recently opened around the country include:
- Sans Bar — Austin, Texas
- Listen Bar — Brooklyn, New York
- Awake — Denver, Colorado
- Unimpaired — Iowa City, Iowa
- The Other Side — Crystal Lake, Illinois
- Intoxicated — Racine, Wisconsin
- Zero Proof — Sacramento, California
- Lights Out — Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Even though no alcohol is being served, some sober bars still require their customers to be at least 21 years old to enter. This is to keep the same vibe as a traditional bar. In their quest to provide an authentic bar experience, many sober bars are complete with dart tables, pool tables, live music, and a wide selection of non-alcoholic drinks, from NA beer and wine to craft cocktails, artisanal sodas, and kombuchas.
Although you certainly can’t find a sober bar on every corner (yet), they are becoming increasingly popular as more people experiment with a sober lifestyle.
Sober Bars as a Recovery Tool
There are a few significant ways that sober bars can act as a recovery tool, including:
Allow You to Feel “Normal”
As damaging as it can be, alcohol still plays a leading role in society. From drinks with co-workers after a hard day at work to wine at a family dinner, champagne toasts at a wedding, and the list goes on. People who stop drinking often feel left out of these elements of everyday life. Missing out on these events can cause people in recovery to become depressed and down, putting their recovery in jeopardy. The good thing about sober bars is that they let you feel “normal,” try new drinks with trendy ingredients and say “cheers” to the new year without consuming a drop of alcohol. Recovery is all about reintegrating back into society, and having the option to socialize without feeling triggered or pressured to drink is key.
Provide a Safe Space to Escape Alcohol
Like we mentioned, alcohol is everywhere in today’s society. Even scrolling social media or watching TV, you will likely be inundated with pictures of friends drinking and commercials and TV shows chock-full of so-called social drinkers having the times of their lives drinking. The one place you can go and guarantee to escape from alcohol, whether it’s New Year’s Eve or Sunday morning, is a sober bar. These safe spaces allow you to socialize and kick back in an entirely alcohol-free environment that still has the same relaxing and fun vibe of the pub down the street, allowing you to experience the excitement of a night out without the headache, nausea, or hangxiety the next day.
Learn to Have Fun Sober
People recovering from alcohol addiction often think they will never be able to enjoy themselves without drinking. A sober bar can play a key role in teaching people how to have fun without drinking. There are often a number of activities to participate in, including darts, pool, karaoke, dancing, and trivia — things people traditionally enjoy in a bar environment — which all give you a chance to find new hobbies to get involved with while also seeing firsthand that you don’t need alcohol to have fun.
As alcohol lowers inhibitions, it also impairs judgment and pushes drinkers to do things they later regret. However, when you attend a sober bar, you get all of the fun with none of the regret.
A Place to Meet Sober Friends
When you go through recovery, you may find that you cannot hang out with your old friends at your old spots anymore because they can be highly triggering. A sober bar allows you to meet new friends who are also sober. Some of these people may also be in recovery, allowing you to create a robust support system and make friends who don’t drink.
The socialization that sober bars enable is critically important for recovery. Studies have found that social isolation can be a barrier to recovery, so making sure you are getting out there and mingling is an important step in the recovery journey. Sober bars give you a place to do so without the fear of accidentally being served a drink, being pressured into drinking, or falling into the temptation to have “just one drink,” which will likely spur a relapse.
Sober bars provide a safe space for everyone, not just people in recovery, meaning you will have the chance to meet people from all walks of life, whether it’s a pregnant woman, people experimenting with a sober lifestyle, someone who doesn’t drink due to their religion, health-conscious people, and so forth. In addition, sober bars will introduce you to people you may not have otherwise had the chance to meet!
Connecting deeply with people around you is an important part of recovery and maintaining sobriety. Meeting new people without the cloudiness of alcohol lets you get to know them on a deeper level than if you were drinking and socializing. This creates deeper relationships with them and with yourself, spurring a self-discovery journey. Achieving a more profound understanding of who you are is imperative to sobriety and establishing a healthier state of being. Sober bars provide a social setting where who you are is more important than what you’re drinking, how much you’re drinking, and where the next drink will come from, affording you the chance to engage socially and connect by being yourself.
While sober bars are revolutionizing recovery and allowing people in recovery to socialize, participate in fun activities, and grow their support system by meeting new friends, they are not a replacement for alcohol addiction treatment. Learn more about alcoholic treatment at Olympus Recovery here.
Visiting a Sober Bar During Recovery
Before you visit a sober bar in recovery, make sure you have the support you need, whether that’s talking to your addiction counselor beforehand, bringing a sponsor or trusted friend or family member with you, and relying on your coping skills learned in treatment. The setting of the bar — even with no alcohol served — can still be triggering. So take it slowly and if you feel overwhelmed or triggered, step outside and get some fresh air. If that doesn’t help, leave and come back another day.
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