Alaska Celebrates Sobriety Awareness Month

By Lindsey Weedston 03/04/19

The state will play host to a variety of sobriety-inspired events, wrapping up with a “nationally touring sober pop-up event” on March 30.

Woman from Alaska celebrating sobriety awareness month

This March, more Alaskans than ever will celebrate Sobriety Awareness Month. This tradition began with the Alaska Native Sobriety Movement, which was created in 1989 by the Alaska Federation of Natives.

In 1995, the tradition of both the state legislature and governor officially dedicating March Sobriety Awareness Month began. Last year, Alaska made it official by signing the tradition into law.

The sobriety movement has roots in fighting addiction, and the movement is expanding and attracting more people than ever. This includes people who don’t necessarily have addiction disorders but are concerned about the overall health issues associated with regular drug and alcohol consumption, and are tired of what people are calling a stigma against sobriety.

“Alcohol is so present in our society, whether we’re listening to music or seeing ads in magazines, whether we’re celebrating or mourning, if we want to relax or get pumped up, alcohol is everywhere,” Recovery Alaska Executive Director Tiffany Hall told Anchorage Press. “Hopefully this month will encourage people to start thinking about the presence of alcohol in their lives and getting creative with other ways to celebrate or relax. There’s a misperception that sobriety is boring or anti-social, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.”

The growing sobriety movement is evident in how many restaurants and bars are offering more alcohol-free mixed drinks. Sober or “sans bar” pop-up events are also becoming more common. The idea is to provide people with a night of food, socializing, music, dancing, and more—without the pressure to drink.

The trend appears to be appealing quite a bit to millennials.

“Sober dance parties like DayBreaker are becoming the new rage, inviting guests to 'DOSE' on all-natural chemicals like Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins before heading out for a work day,” wrote Jules Schroeder for Forbes. “For millennials today, it’s become somewhat of a faux pas to drink. While our parents’ generation considered booze cool, we think it the opposite. Instead, connection, authenticity, and mindfulness are what’s catching on, and as a result, producing many benefits.”

Back in Alaska, there will be “Dry Weekend Challenges” and new featured alcohol-free drinks at bars and restaurants across the state, ending in a “nationally touring sober pop-up event” on March 30 with live music from Alaskan musician Emma Hill and Athabaskan and Inupiaq singer-songwriter Quinn C.

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Lindsey Weedston is a Seattle area writer focused on mental health and addiction, politics, human rights, and various social issues. Her work has appeared in The Establishment, Ravishly, ThinkProgress, Little Things, Yes! Magazine, and others. You can find her daily writings at Twitter: