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fasting curious? Taking a break from alcohol is the key to health: shots



Some who have renounced alcohol join "sober" friends to enjoy soft drinks at Sans Bar in Austin, Texas.

Julia Robinson for NPR


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Julia Robinson for NPR

Some who have renounced alcohol join "sober" friends to enjoy soft drinks at the Sans Bar in Austin, Texas.

Julia Robinson for NPR

At 8 pm On a Saturday night, people gather at a popular bar called Harvard & Stone in a neighborhood in eastern Los Angeles. The chatter gets louder as the alcohol begins to flow.

There are obviously about a dozen women in the back corner, but they do not drink alcohol. They drink handcrafted mocktails with names like Baby's First Bourbon and Honey Dew Collins, which contain non-alcoholic distilled spirits.

You're part of a sober social club made up mostly of women in their thirties who wish to have fun and make friends without alcohol.

The members of this club train, have challenging jobs and just do not want to feel foggy or hungover anymore. Without alcohol, they say, they just feel better.

"Oh my god, well, one thing that struck pretty much everyone was my overall health and, like my skin, my eyes … I've lost weight," says Stephanie Forte, who's on sale in the beauty industry is working.

After one month, the researchers documented a reduction in participants' GGT.

"The results of these studies are actually very surprising," says White. Health risks associated with heavy, long-term alcohol use are well known. However, this is one of the first indications that scientists understand how the body responds to moderate alcohol consumption even after a short break.

The Sobriety Spectrum

For alcohol-addicted drinkers, a short break is probably not an option. Many people who drink a lot have had a hard time dealing with their relationship with alcohol.

Chris Marshall is a Certified Substance Abuse Consultant and founder of Sans Bar Austin, a place where "nightlife without alcohol" takes place.

Julia Robinson for NPR


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Julia Robinson for NPR

Chris Marshall is a Certified Drug Abuse Consultant and founder of Sans Bar Austin, a nightlife experience venue without alcohol.

Julia Robinson for NPR

Chris Marshall from Austin, Texas has been sober for 12 years. He started drinking in high school, he says, and got his first DUI at 16. Then he joined a fraternity and continued to drink.

"All my drinking was really focused on the community and wanted that connection so much with other people," he says.

With the help of Anonymous Alcoholics, he finally became sober. He became a drug abuse adviser to help others, but found that it was often very lonely to be recovering.

"Those early days of abstinence from alcohol were so hard because I had no friends," he says.

Sans Bar in Austin, Texas, a popular cocktail is the Alright, Alright, Alright – a mix of disorganized blueberries, meyer lemon, smoked honey, apple cider vinegar, and mint.

Julia Robinson for NPR


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Julia Robinson for NPR

So he founded Sans Bar, a sober bar in Austin. It is open on Friday evenings and some Saturdays – a comfortable place where people can talk, find sober friends, listen to music and of course drink some good soft drinks. (Marshall likes ginger beer, which he says provides a nice burn in the throat that people sometimes miss when they stop drinking alcohol.)

San's bar has become so popular that Marshall got that concept this year brought to the street. He organized pop-up bars in Washington, DC, New York and Anchorage. And he has opened new, sober bars in Kansas City, Missouri, and in the west of Massachusetts.

"What I want to do across the country is these little incubators for social networking," he says.

Marshall has seen a lot of changes in the way people look at sobriety in the last 12 years. Back when he was sober, you either drank – or not, he says. Now there is a whole spectrum of sobriety.

"Not everyone identifies themselves as sober all the time," says Marshall. And that's fine with him.

He welcomes people in recovery who are only curious about the sober life of San's bar, as long as they are substance-free on arrival and during their presence.

You know, alcohol is the only drug you have to give a reason why you do not, "he says.

On a Friday night, Rob Zaleski and Kim Daniel enter Marshall's bar in Austin: They abstain from alcohol for 30 days, explaining and documenting their experiences in a podcast and on Instagram at #BoozelessATX.

"We've realized that we have been drinking far too often and too much," he tells Zaleski

They wanted to see what new skills and activities they can try without drinking alcohol, they've learned archery, played flag football, tested motorbikes on a biker rally, and participated in a free improvisation course.

"We find that we can fill our days," says Daniel, "but sometimes the nights are tough. "Then they discovered San's Bar."

Chris Marshall has organized pop-up sans bars in New York, Washington, DC, and Anchorage, and he's been expanding into permanent space in Kansas City, Mo., and West Massachusetts.

Julia Robinson for NPR


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Chris Marshall has organized pop-up sans bars in New York, Washington, DC and Anchorage. He also works in permanent spaces in Kansas City, Missouri and in the west of Massachusetts.

Julia Robinson for NPR

If you are worried about being one of the 17 million adults in the United States who are alcohol dependent and alcohol causes stress or harm, seek medical advice. As we have reported, there are a variety of treatments that go beyond the anonymous alcoholics, including counseling, medications, and support groups to help people who want to end this addiction. This NIAAA guide can help you find a program or approach that suits you best.

However, if you can and want to experiment with cutting out alcohol while others drink around you, Marshall offers the following tips to stick to it: Be loud planning not to drink. Bring a friend who supports you. And ask for a good substitute drink.


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