Want to drink less or stay sober? Here’s how to deal with the social pressure – CNN

Want to drink less or stay sober? Here’s how to deal with the social pressure – CNN

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Parties, weddings, back-on-again concerts and overdue catch-ups: The social calendar is back in full swing after nearly three years of pandemic-related lockdowns and restrictions.

For some, this renewed activity comes with pressure from friends to knock back alcoholic drinks — a challenge if you’re trying to go sober, stay alcohol-free or simply drink less.

“The hardest part about not drinking is other people’s perceptions about it,” said Millie Gooch, founder of the Sober Girl Society and author of “The Sober Girl Society Handbook.” She gave up drinking over four years ago. “I got so much: ‘Oh you’re going to be boring now.’ I still get it now and then.”

Gooch is part of a growing moderation movement. Her group, based in the United Kingdom, aims to support young women who want to stay sober or drink less with practical advice about how to socialize, date and have fun without a cocktail in hand. It holds booze-free brunches and other meetups.

“I myself was a sober shamer, and that was a reflection of my own drinking,” Gooch said. “I wanted everyone else to be drinking.”

No amount of alcohol is healthy if you’re under 40, mostly due to alcohol-related deaths by auto accidents, injury and homicide, according to a study released in July. CNN talked to Gooch, who shared her tips for how to rethink your relationship with alcohol.

The following conversation has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

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