The Culture of Abstaining From Alcohol

“Abstinence [from alcohol] was found to be associated with a staggering 45 per cent higher risk of dementia compared to those who consumed between one and 14 unites of alcohol a week.”

 -Sean Morrison, Evening Standard

I know what you’re thinking, who did this science experiment? Well, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris along with scientists from the University College London. They followed 9000 men and women with ages ranging between 45-55 over 23 years and found that 45% of those who did not drink developed dementia. Now, the downfalls of this is that their health history was not really controlled for, it is just that they abstained from drinking during the 23 period time period.

But, for the average Joe to google abstaining from alcohol, and retrieve these articles can be detrimental to the culture of abstaining from alcohol. By the way, this is the first image that comes up when you google “abstaining from alcohol.”

So why exactly is there so much pressure in some societies to consume alcohol? Is it really NEEDED to be social? Are we not FUN enough without it? Are you too RELIGIOUS and need to loosen up a little? I have heard it all. No, I am not too religious but my religion has forced me to do my own research. Why is alcohol so specifically forbidden in the Quran? Reading and learning and realizing that I really do not need it to have fun and I have more effective coping mechanisms, I decided abstaining from alcohol was the right choice for me.

So how do we get others to not only abstain from consuming alcohol but also make that idea culturally accepted? Well here are two ways to start:

  1. No Beer, No Botox, No Problem

Seems simple, educate the masses on what alcohol does to you. But the twist is, get them with what they care about most in today’s society: vanity. Vogue recently published an article on how giving up alcohol can transform your skin. “I always joke with my patients, ‘If you want to get older, go ahead and drink!’” says nutritionist Jairo Rodriquez, who gave the Vogue advice on how no drinking means looking more radiant and youthful. More women are also diving into the “sober curious” waters for vanity reasons and blogger Kate of The Sober School writes that the fewer calories, less bloating, beauty rest, and motivation to gym are all reasons why no drinking is really the right choice. Which leads us to tip number 2 for creating a more culturally accepting environment for abstainers.


  1. Success Stories Create Success Stories

Kate, a previous heavy drinker, started her blog page, “The Sober School” as a way to motivate herself to continue on that path as well as build a community for like women to join in and feel welcomed, whether you are new to the abstinence life or been sober all your life. Kate writes “I show them [women] how to have fun, relax and be confident without a glass of wine in their hand… and I can help you too” and suggests that there is no need to label yourself as being in recovery. She offers a 6 week course to women in need of help. This welcoming environment creates a culture of acceptance and hopefully a domino effect too. She has a page dedicated to “graduates” of her program and their testimonies, with women both young and old. And Kate’s page isn’t the only blog page out there. Hip Sobriety, UnPickled, Drunky Drunk Girl, and Sober Senorita are just a few of the FEMALE led blog pages. Some are about the process of sobriety and some about the success of sobriety, but all creating awareness in a positive, more inviting way.  


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