Alaskans Say Hello to Sober Celebrations During Sobriety Awareness Month
ANCHORAGE—Sober pop-up bars appearing and alcohol-free drink options being added to the menus of famous restaurants and bars across the globe are proof that living a sober lifestyle is gaining popularity. Alaska is no exception. Kicked off nearly two decades ago as the Alaska Native Sobriety Movement at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention, more and more Alaskans will recognize this March as Alaska’s Sobriety Awareness Month.
Signed into law last year, Sobriety Awareness Month celebrates the choice of Alaskans living a sober, healthy lifestyle and encourages others to recognize those making a sober choice.
“Sobriety isn’t easy,” said Tiffany Hall, executive director of Recover Alaska, who is nine years sober. “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. 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.”
According to recent national news, like CBS News, more and more people are choosing to live a life without drugs or alcohol regardless of whether or not they struggle with addiction. Money, awareness around the health impacts of alcohol use and wellness trends are being stated as reasons people are choosing to live sober. Regardless of reasoning, the often-overlooked population of people choosing to not drink is rising, and it is time to pay attention.
Bars and restaurants that previously relied on alcohol sales are beginning to see that the population of people choosing not to drink, whether it be a lifelong commitment, a month, a weekend or just one night, do have spending power and will pay for zero-proof drinks that include higher quality ingredients. Evidence of this movement can be seen on menus across the state and the nation and, extending beyond the bar, sober events like yoga parties and alcohol-free concerts.
“For many, socializing with friends is still going to involve hanging out at bars and restaurants,” said Hall. “So it’s nice when a place offers specialty spirit-free options and is interesting for reasons other than just the alcohol it serves.”
Recover Alaska is encouraging all Alaskans to participate in Sobriety Awareness Month. Most people have been touched by sobriety in some way, whether they have a friend, loved one or community member choosing to live without drugs and alcohol or they are living a sober lifestyle themselves. In Alaska, Sobriety Awareness Month will consist of Dry Weekend Challenges, featured “buzz-free” drink additions at bars and restaurants across the state, like South Restaurant, Whale’s Tail, Fletcher’s Tequila 61, Bear Tooth and Pangea, and a nationally touring sober pop-up event, Sans Bar, which serves alcohol-free beverages in a safe, welcoming environment. The event will take place March 30 at Uncle Leroy’s Coffee Bar and will feature live music from Emma Hill and Quinn Christopherson.
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Spreading the Word
When Bristol Bay Native Corporation (BBNC) first aired TV commercials featuring the tagline, “A Place That’s Always Been,” the reaction was surprising. Not only because they received numerous accolades and marketing awards for the campaign but because, at the time, it was rare for Alaska Native corporations to market themselves through the media.