One of my favorite parts of running Little Saints is hearing stories from our community about your evolving relationships with alcohol. I've shared a lot on my personal IG, and I figured that it's time to share my POV here. The punchline? It's a process.
I started Little Saints because I felt terrible from drinking too much alcohol during the pandemic, and I wanted to create a fun alternative that felt like a cocktail without booze or sugar. Since launching Little Saints, I have reframed my relationship with alcohol overall and drink probably 75% less than I did before.
No matter how much I love our plant magic mocktails, however, saying no to alcohol hasn't always been easy. After decades of using alcohol to relax and celebrate, it's taken effort to reframe the way I approach those things without it.
And I’m not alone – I’ve talked to thousands of people about their relationships with alcohol at hundreds of events since our launch, and I’ve seen a major shift in perspective. During the summer of 2021, the general consensus was “I know I have been drinking too much and am trying to cut down” (loved that many people were carrying a beer when they said this).
During the summer of 2022, it had evolved to “I’m more aware of how alcohol affects my mood and health, and I’m taking significant steps to change my relationship with it”. In other words, the vibe shifted from one of guilt to one of action, and the trend is not slowing down.
In the past few months, the sober curious movement has gotten some major press. Vogue’s recent article, “Has Everyone Stopped Drinking?”, talks about how non-alcoholic beverages are growing in popularity as many people cut down on drinking. The Andrew Huberman Podcast (one of the top 25 global podcasts) “What Alcohol Does To Your Brain, Body and Health” shared new science demonstrating that even low rates of alcohol consumption are harmful to our health, including that one drink per night on a regular basis produces more stress and anxiety in the body overall when not drinking. And the #sobercurious hashtag is exploding on Instagram and Tik Tok.
The Huberman podcast taught us something I can’t unlearn: drinking even one drink per night on a regular basis produces more stress and anxiety in the body overall when not drinking.
Even though many people are rethinking our drinking, many of our social frameworks haven’t caught up to the trend. As Holly Whitaker writes in her book, Quit Like a Woman (which Chrissy Teigen read before she quit drinking), alcohol is omnipresent in the majority of our social rituals – weddings, baby showers, meetings with friends, happy hours, holidays, concerts, etc.
Of course, this is nothing new to people who don’t drink. Friends recovering from alcohol addiction in particular have told me that when they quit drinking, all they see is alcohol every time they leave the house. And alcohol’s presence gets stronger the older you are – Gen Z drinks 20% less than Millenials, and Millenials drink 15% less than Gen X.
And all of this has me thinking … is alcohol slowly becoming the new smoking? The thing that many people thought was fun and cool, until we all realized how bad it was for us and stopped? My POV on drinking is this: I see the writing on the wall. I know that I feel exponentially better (emotionally, mentally, physically) when I don’t drink, which is why I often make the (often tough) decision not to. But because so many of my social frameworks still involve drinking (especially when there are no Little Saints on the menu), I haven’t totally given it up. The way I feel about alcohol now is the way I felt about cigarettes before I finally quit smoking socially in my 20's - I know giving up alcohol is inevitable, and I look forward to being on the other side.
I’d love to hear about whether and how you are rethinking drinking in the comments below. All thoughts are welcome!
P.s. I would like to acknowledge our friends who do not have the privilege of being able to choose whether or not to drink alcohol on any given day. We understand that every day can be a struggle, and we see you.