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STATE OF PLAY

Why even casual drinkers are embracing the pleasures of sobriety

Kezia Gabriella for Quartz
  • Sarah Todd
By Sarah Todd

Senior reporter, Quartz and Quartz at Work

Published Last updated on

In the summer of 2019, Angela Martin decided it was time to stop drinking. “I woke up one morning after having a couple margaritas,” says Martin, a 41-year-old health and wellness coach who lives in Bend, Oregon. “I felt horrible and was like, ‘Why do I continue to do this?’ No matter how bad the hangover was, I never seemed to learn.”

Martin had taken a break from alcohol before. But that 90-day stretch came to an end when a friend who worked in public relations offered her a spot on a free wine-tasting trip in California’s Napa Valley. “I got trashed, I lost my keys, I had a huge fight with my husband—and he and I never argue,” she recalls. She says she knew the only way to really change her relationship with alcohol was to make a big commitment: one year of not drinking. She announced her plan on social media. “I thought, ‘Shit, now I’ve really got to do this.’”

Martin didn’t have many sober friends, and Alcoholics Anonymous wasn’t the right fit for her; she doesn’t identify as an alcoholic, and she wasn’t comfortable with what she saw as the more religious aspects of the program. But she’s found a sense of community via podcasts—she’s a fan of life coach Rachel Hart’s Take a Break—and books like Laura McKowen’s We are the Luckiest: The Surprising Magic of a Sober Life. On Instagram, Martin follows the Sober Mom Tribe, an account with more than 39,000 followers. “They celebrate their milestones on social media, so I feel like there’s a lot of other women out there doing this,” she says. She stays abreast of the exploding market for nonalcoholic beverages, favoring Spirity Cocktails’ ready-to-drink options like Mindful Mule and Mindful Margarita.

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