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Drinking Less

What Does It Mean To Be "Soberish" or “Damp”?

June 19, 2023
8 min read
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Written by
Reframe Content Team
A team of researchers and psychologists who specialize in behavioral health and neuroscience. This group collaborates to produce insightful and evidence-based content.
June 19, 2023
8 min read
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Certified recovery coach specialized in helping everyone redefine their relationship with alcohol. His approach in coaching focuses on habit formation and addressing the stress in our lives.
June 19, 2023
8 min read
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Recognized by Fortune and Fast Company as a top innovator shaping the future of health and known for his pivotal role in helping individuals change their relationship with alcohol.
June 19, 2023
8 min read
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Reframe Content Team
June 19, 2023
8 min read

There’s a buzzing trend in the wellness arena: being “soberish” or “damp.” Let’s take a deep dive into this concept, which is changing how people perceive their relationship with alcohol. 

What Is “Soberish”?

What exactly does “soberish” mean? And what is a “damp” lifestyle? They’re terms that have come to define a state of selective sobriety — people who are “soberish” or “damp” aren’t completely abstinent from alcohol, but they’re intentional and mindful about their consumption. It's about setting your own rules and finding balance. You're not a teetotaler, but you're also not partaking in boozy blowouts. You're treading the path of moderation and maybe even becoming “sober-curious.”

The “soberish” approach acknowledges the detrimental effects excessive alcohol can have on both physical and mental health. Picture your body as a well-oiled machine. If alcohol is added in excess, it's like throwing a wrench in the works; it can disrupt various bodily functions. As just one example, it can strain the liver, leading to diseases like cirrhosis, in which the liver cells get damaged and replaced by scar tissue. It can also increase the risk of various cancers, including mouth, esophagus, colorectal, stomach, liver, pancreatic, and breast cancer. Moreover, alcohol has been associated with an increased risk of diabetes and can be detrimental to gut health, too.

Excessive alcohol can impact our mental well-being, too. Alcohol tends to amplify our feelings, so if we’re feeling anxious, alcohol might increase those feelings instead of suppressing them. While drinking might feel like a temporary relief, alcohol can exacerbate anxiety symptoms in the long run.

So where does “soberish” fall in all this? It's like taking the steering wheel of our health and well-being into our own hands. We’re in the driver’s seat, deciding when to hit the brakes on our alcohol intake and when to gently press the accelerator, always ensuring we’re in control.

“Damp Drinking”

Going “damp” is a similar idea with an even more casual, user-friendly flavor. Like being “soberish,” it’s all about finding a sweet spot between complete sobriety (being bone-dry) and drinking regularly. This particular spin on the concept first appeared thanks to a TikToker named Hana Elson. She's whipped up a bunch of videos teaching people about the upsides of “damp” drinking, and boy, has it struck a chord! The #damplifestyle hashtag on TikTok is up to nearly 20 million views and still going strong.

The “damp” lifestyle is a down-to-earth way to handle drinking. Picture it like the mindful eating trend but swapping out food for alcohol. You can still have a drink, but you're setting some ground rules for yourself.

Being “damp” is all about spotting why you're drinking and the fallout that might come from it. The goal is similar to the “soberish” approach – making your relationship with alcohol a whole lot healthier. 

Why Not Sober?

Some may ask, "Why not go entirely sober?" Absolutely, sure — complete abstinence works for some. However, absolute sobriety can be a drastic change, and the idea of never having a drink again can be daunting — especially at the beginning, when we’re still trying to determine what relationship with alcohol is right for us. Being “soberish” allows for flexibility in the way we see our relationship with alcohol. It's about choosing when, where, and how much we drink, putting the power back in our own hands.

Getting Soberish

The concept of being “soberish” or “damp” goes hand-in-hand with the principles of mindful drinking. It's like turning on the GPS to navigate our journey with alcohol. We become more aware of our speed (rate of consumption), our destination (how we feel after drinking), and any bumps on the road (unwanted side effects). This mindful approach lets us enjoy the journey without veering off the healthy path.

Non-alcoholic alternatives play a significant role in the “soberish” or “damp” journey. Think of them as rest stops along the road. We still get to enjoy the ride — parties, celebrations, and social gatherings — without adding road wear to our health. Non-alcoholic drinks have been shown not only to help reduce alcohol intake but also to improve overall quality of life. So the next time you're at a social gathering, don't hesitate to reach for that mocktail or sparkling water!

Give It a Try!

Don’t know how to shift toward a “soberish” or “damp” lifestyle? Here are a few practical tips:

  1. Set your boundaries. Decide what moderation means for you. It might be drinking only on weekends or special occasions, or limiting the number of drinks per sitting.
  2. Stay mindful. Pay attention to your drinking habits. Note your triggers and how you feel during and after drinking. This awareness will help guide your decisions.
  3. Explore alternatives. There's a whole world of non-alcoholic beverages to explore. From herbal teas to kombuchas to alcohol-free beers, there's a drink for every occasion.
  4. Seek support. This journey doesn't have to be solitary. Connect with like-minded individuals, join support groups, or talk to a professional if needed. Try the Reframe Forum! Remember, it's okay to ask for help.

Explore Damp January

One of the best ways to give the “damp” or “soberish” lifestyle a go is to explore Reframe’s Damp January challenge.

The Damp January challenge is exactly what it sounds like: during the entire month of January, try to be conscious about drinking less than you usually do. Unlike the traditional Dry January, this challenge is perfect for those of us who aren’t looking to go sober for the entire month (or at all), but would like to be more mindful of their alcohol intake and improve their relationship with it.

In the Driver’s Seat

In a nutshell, being “soberish” — or “damp,” if you prefer — means you're the one in the driver's seat, taking control of your journey with alcohol, making conscious choices to ensure you enjoy the ride while maintaining your physical and mental well-being.

The idea behind being soberish or damp is not about demonizing alcohol; it’s about promoting a balanced, healthier lifestyle. It's about enjoying a glass of wine on a special occasion without feeling the pressure to finish a whole bottle or choosing a mocktail over a cocktail without any insecurity.

Being “soberish” or “damp” gives you the freedom to define your own relationship with alcohol, giving you control and the opportunity to lead a happier, healthier life. 

Start Your “Soberish” Journey With Reframe!

Whether you're considering a life without alcohol or are simply sober-curious, remember that making positive changes is always worth it — and the Reframe app is here to help! You will have access to tools and skills that can help you explore a sober or soberish lifestyle in a fun and intuitive way.

With our # 1-rated app, you’ll have access to daily readings that help you develop new habits and sharpen your problem-solving skills. You will also receive a set of daily tasks, journal prompts, guided meditations, and motivational quotes to keep you inspired.

When you join, you’ll have a chance to interact with a worldwide community of caring, compassionate people just like you, eager to share their stories and advice in our 24/7 Forum chat. You can also connect with licensed coaches for one-on-one counseling sessions, as well as daily check-in calls via Zoom if you would like extra support.

The Reframe in-app Toolkit is a treasure trove of resources that will arm you with additional knowledge and help you hone your new skills. Most importantly, the Reframe app is free for 7 days — so try it today risk-free! We would love to be a part of your healing journey. Hope to see you in the app!

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At Reframe, we do science, not stigma. We base our articles on the latest peer-reviewed research in psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral science. We follow the Reframe Content Creation Guidelines, to ensure that we share accurate and actionable information with our readers. This aids them in making informed decisions on their wellness journey.
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