What's the buzz about being sober all year round?
Cool to say no to alcohol? We explain.
While many Quebecers put down the bottle during the 28 Days Without Alcohol Challenge, more and more people are taking the opportunity to put an end to their consumption, including celebrities and influencers. But how did the vino lifestyle become cool?
Sober since 2016, actress Éliane Gagnon can't believe how much people adhere to 0%. And this, especially since she founded Soberlab four years ago, a site that promotes sobriety without negativity, without shame, without judgment.
“We talk about it a lot more. I'm not saying it's necessarily because of Soberlab, but there are a lot of people talking about it publicly, celebrities and so on, and it definitely reduces the stigma around addiction.”  ;
There is also a growing number of non-alcoholic options that look funkyand delightful flavors, which encourages us to invite them more often to our festive evenings. Just think of Quebec products Atypique by Étienne Boulay, BockAle or Monsieur Cocktail.
Who is sober?
- 11% of Quebecers aged 18 to 241;
- 13% of Quebecers aged 25 to 44;
- 15% of Quebecers aged 45 to 64;
- 24% of Quebecers aged 65 and over;
- 35.5% of adults in Canada.2
Sources: 1- National Institute of Public Health (INSPQ), data from 2017-2018; 2- World Health Organization (WHO), data from 2016.
A question of well-being being
According to the activist, this change in mentality is primarily rooted in our aspiration for well-being.
Like the beauty routine, sobriety is a way to take care of yourself. In 2022, we are more aware of what we put in our bodies, especially when it comes to toxic or addictive substances. We are therefore more likely to avoid them, she believes.
“When you love yourself and want to be good, you no longer want to destroy yourself in substance abuse,” she explains.
Actress and author Éliane Gagnon.
There is no need to hit rock bottom or lose a house to stop consuming, according to Éliane.
Sobriety is sure to appeal to people seeking personal fulfillment, notes artist Gabrielle Laïla Tittley, aka Pony. “We like to take on challenges. There's something really positive about that.”
The impact of social networks
And that, many have it understood and promote it extensively on social media, making the movement even more accessible and, let's just say, sexy.
When we see content creators as popular as Lysandre Nadeau telling us that life is so much better without a drink, it makes you want to. “You get rid of the idea that you can't have fun without alcohol,” notes Gabrielle.
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Same thing when big stars challenge us to take an offensive break on Instagram. If the United States have their “Sober October” or their “Dry January”, in Quebec, we know better the 28 days without alcohol Challenge of the Maison Jean Lapointe, of which the comedian Jean-Michel Anctil and the host Anouk Meunier are the spokespersons.
Whatever they are called, these moments of abstinence also lead people to change their habits for good, says Éliane. “When they pause, people also become aware; you say to yourself: “ah, I’m fine, I’m going to continue”.
You can also count on dating apps for sober people like Loosid and even clothing brands like Sober is Sexy, which has been printing inspirational messages related to sobriety on its products since 2010.
Will we therefore become more sober in the long run? Yes, slice Eliane. However, she brings some nuances: “Is it going to become a standard? No. I think it's going to become accepted and respected, more and more normalized, but I feel like there's always going to be work to do.”
When COVID invites itself into the glass
By making us collectively more vulnerable, more anxious or more isolated.es, the pandemic has prompted many to pour themselves more drinks than usual.
This is the case of Montreal artist Gabrielle Laïla Tittley, aka Pony.
She announced her break from boozemonth on January 24 on his Facebook page. Curious coincidence: she had previously signed the new look of the non-alcoholic beer company.
Today, her shelves are filled with flavored sparkling waters, kombucha and non-alcoholic hops. Ready for her challenge, she says she is not worried about cravings.
“I am the example of a moderate consumer, who is fed up with the pandemic, and who has want to eliminate the stressors in her life”, she underlines.
For Gabrielle, it is a gift for mental health and not a deprivation for the sole reason of depriving herself.
She's not ruling out quitting drinking permanently if the benefits of the break are greater for her at the end of her temporary challenge.
“It’s just learning to live without it and getting past the psychological barrier of temptation. What is going to be the fun is not having moments where I am f*cking triggered, where I become dark” , she says.
Anyway, you don't need to drink to be on the party.