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Staying sober; one of life’s never-ending stigmas. But that stigma might have finally been put to bed with the pandemic sheading more light than we might choose to acknowledge on the age-old debate of how to have a good time. It’s been a year where, more than ever, students have been driven to extremes with some using lockdown to go full cold turkey. Sobriety is on the rise even right here on campus with one of Lancaster’s newest societies beginning to flourish, coming at just the right time for those contemplating whether this summer is the one to stay sober.
The Sober Society has taken campus by storm, with their belief that the key to sobriety is not to think about alcohol, or sobriety at all but to learn to enjoy life as it comes. With the society’s “focus on doing fun things and connecting as a community rather than focusing on the absence of alcohol”, the Sober Society, run by President Ophelia Chidgey, Vice-President Rossana Palma and Social Media and Communications Officer Ziv Mann-Wineberg, has become one of Lancaster’s most welcoming and unique societies. With over 20 attendees at their first social event, the society has already attracted a fair amount of attention from those simply “looking for sober events”, the “sober curious” and, ultimately sober students looking for a group of like-minded people that can facilitate a pressure free, enjoyable environment. With weekly meetings running alongside socials, the society is always buzzing with exciting activities, “sometimes playing games sometimes just chatting for a while and ending up having great long conversations”.
Being sober at university is a completely alien concept for the majority of students with clubs and the finer things in life often being associated with drinking copious amounts of alcohol although, that’s not the case for everyone. However, for many the switch from alcohol to alcohol free is a daunting concept so how can someone go cold turkey? The Sober Society believe that one of the best ways to enjoy sobriety or finally “put the plug in the jug” is to surround yourself with other sober people to take away the pressure. They suggest the best way forward is to, “try and spend your time with supportive people who can support you in not drinking, with less temptation”. This bit of advice sits at the heart of the Sober Society’s existence. Sober students who are already going strong can meet and support each other to create a positive environment that the Sober Society believe is fundamental in supporting other students looking to become sober.
When talking about their immediate popularity, they admitted that it “reflects the need there was for this kind of society and we are really just facilitating this”. They went on to say, “we consider ourselves to exist for every student on campus whether or not they are a member”. This attitude towards not only sobriety but the sober community is commendable but regardless, I’d imagine most university students, like me, would wonder what the perks are for being sober. Don’t worry, the Sober Society is not short on answers.
Social Media and Communications Officer Ziv Mann-Wineberg, explained the benefits are endless, from “not waking up sick or hungover” to “better and improved mental health” to having their “mornings back” explaining that they “wake up feeling healthy and capable to do things, able to keep to commitments and not cancel plans from being hungover.” So, whether your summer is going to be all about the Euros, working for some much-needed cash or trying to gain some valuable work experience, maybe sobriety is the way forward!