Many adults regularly go to a bar in their free time as a default social activity. Usually, they go there at night for socializing and hanging out with friends.
However, many people have problems to stop addictions like alcoholism and in those cases, it’s hard to go to a bar and have the pressure of everyone drinking around you. They will increase the danger and risk of relapsing back into their bad behavior and waste all that time they were alcohol-free.
Additionally, there are people that do not want to submerge themselves in a place that is soaked in drinks and will eventually lead to hangovers, DUIs, and additional problems that alcohol use can lead to. Alcohol can lead to fatty liver, cirrhosis, dementia, anxiety, various cancers, stroke, and depression.
Alcohol-free options became more accepted to people throughout the United States and new bars opened up that do not serve any alcohol. These bars are called “sober bars” and are made for recovering addicts of alcohol that want a clean community with fun and support. These bars are also made for people that simply live a healthy alternative to the booze infested bars.
The sober bars look exactly like the normal bars minus the alcohol. When you walk into one of these bars, you’ll find fun-loving adults socializing over sober beverages like frappes, matcha tea, fruity infusions, virgin cocktails, and cold non-alcoholic beers such as Heineken 0.0.
One such bar is located in Bastrop, Texas, called the Cherokee Recovery Village. Here, adults find themselves and feel like they belong there without the need of drinking.
When you see this bar first, it looks exactly like a traditional tavern with dark and dingy tones. However, their shelves are full of non-alcoholic beverages. You’ll find kombucha and coffee taking the places of liquor, beer, and patrons. However, the normal bar events such as karaoke, pool, community dinners, and fundraising events still happen in the bar.
Paul French is the owner of this bar and he himself was a former addict. As of now, he’s working as a licensed chemical dependency counselor and stated that this bar’s ambiance is helping many recovering alcoholics reach their goal.
“This is exposing yourself to triggers intentionally to weaken those triggers. It will allow you to eventually go into establishments where there’s drinking and partying and craziness and it won’t affect you as strongly as it did. You can come in and you can drink. We only have healthy beverages.”
These sober bars are a great way for alcoholics to stay on their 12-step program aside from the boundaries of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or their home.
French said: “People need connection once they start a recovery program.”
Even though its name may say otherwise, Cherokee Recovery Village is not only for addicts in recovery. People that are sober and do not drink any alcohol have also found this bar scene very enjoying.
French added: “It has really wakened people up on the health benefits of getting sober even if it’s just for a short period of time.”
However, for Ember Zenchyshyn, a former heavy drinker that stayed sober for 3 years, this sober bar is giving her a fun lifestyle option and giving her a sense of preparation for when she eventually returns back to a bar to have the willpower to refuse a drink.
Ember says: “You’re not going to be able to avoid stuff forever. It’s life, you just don’t want to get into recovery to stop living life, you’re getting into recovery to enjoy life.”