Sober 'Juice Crawls' A Growing Trend Among Mindful Millennials

By May Wilkerson 04/26/16

Sober socializing is part of a growing trend amongst millennials looking for healthy ways to cope with stress.

Sober 'Juice Crawls' A Growing Trend Among Mindful Millennials
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For some, it can be difficult to meet new people without the help of substances, especially as a young adult. But these days, young people who prefer to socialize sober have other choices.

One such event is the New York-based Juice Crawl. Think of a pub crawl, minus the hangover. The monthly event brings attendees to different juice shops, where they sample flavors like "Purple Rain" and "Dr. Feelgood" in small shot-sized cups. "Shine" is another example of an alcohol-free event. It launched in Los Angeles in 2014 and has since spread to New York, offering attendees snacks, meditation, "enlightertainment" and, of course, a variety of juice shots. The events routinely draw crowds of over 100 people, who Shine's founder says are "mindful tastemakers" and "spiritually curious."

The Guardian published a feature on the growing trend, noting that most people who seek sober gatherings are not recovering addicts, but instead young people looking for “real, authentic relationships” who wish to remain “centered and calm to appreciate the day.” These "millennials" prefer to socialize sober, desiring meaningful interactions and fewer regretful decisions. “I just feel like you have deeper conversations with people when you’re not distracted by drunkenness,” June Zhang, a 26-year-old student, told the Guardian.

For others, it’s a way to avoid falling into bad habits. “I want to wake up each morning with a fresh mind so I can write,” said Ryan Fischer, a 35-year-old dog walker and writer. “At night my dad has a couple of whiskeys and my mom has a Pinot Grigio and they lull into the night. I just don’t want to do that.”

According to a recent study of millennials in five countries, including the United States, 75% said they usually drink in moderation when they go out. To help explain the trend, clinical psychologist Goal Auzeen Saedi told the Guardian that due to increasing pressures to succeed, coupled with financial insecurity, more of her younger patients are replacing drugs and alcohol with yoga and meditation to cope. 

"Sober clubbing" is another type of gathering where people come for dancing, juice and lucid conversation. The dance parties have followings not just in the U.S. but worldwide. “We want to take out all the bad stuff associated with clubbing: the drinking and self-destructive behavior and mean bouncers, and just bring people together,” Matthew Brimer, who created the event with Radha Agrawal, told NBC News. “There’s no guilt whatsoever here. You can tell your grandmother about Daybreaker.”

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.