New York City has long been synonymous with drinking, drugs and a bit of debauchery. “We didn't come to New York to stay sober,” was a famous line from 1934’s The Thin Man and more than 80 years later this good-time stance is just as relevant as ever. But something strange is happening within the NYC party scene: it seems that the city that never sleeps is waking up to the perks of sobriety.
First there were sober "yoga raves" at The Get Down in the Meatpacking District, which merged thumping bass with the downward dog; then came the No Lights, No Lycra sober dance party and Deep House Yoga at Verboten in Brooklyn. Throughout NYC, new clear-headed club nights are emerging each week as health and wellness and a hedonistic revelry unite for what seems to be the first time.
Abstaining in the Big Apple has never been so cool—but how did this surprising new trend kick off and what’s causing it to spread so rapidly across the globe?
Health and Wellness Clubbing
“When my friend first asked me if I wanted to go to a sober dance party, I thought she was crazy,” says Sara, 28. “I’ve always been someone who drinks on nights out and though I wouldn’t say I’m a big drinker, I honestly didn’t know how a dance party would even work if everyone was stone cold sober. I went along just to see what it was like and it was one of the most satisfying things I’ve ever done.”
Sara is the latest sober party scene advocate who cites health reasons as their main motive for abstemious clubbing and the wellness element seems to be a chief contributor to its rapidly rising popularity. The rationale behind many of these events is that most people like to let their hair down and dance like no one’s watching—but not everyone needs to enter a state of intoxication to get there.
While many people enjoy the pleasure-seeking fun of a rave, not everyone wants to take part in the scene that accompanies it: one study found that 67 percent of people who’d attended a rave in the past six months had used ecstasy; a further 69 percent had used amphetamines. Many sober event organizers state publicly that they’re not trying to make an anti-drugs or anti-alcohol statement—they simply want to promote a different kind of dance-related exuberance that’s totally independent from substance use.
“I think the reason sober partying has become so popular so quickly is because it’s so rewarding,” Sara says. “That’s why I love it. At first, you feel self-conscious, but then you realize everyone is in the same boat. Sober dance parties are communal and connecting; unlike normal clubs, where you look around and realize everyone is in varying states of intoxication, everyone here has a clear-head and is there for the same reason: to have fun, but in a way that actually enhances your health.”
Like many other health and fitness crazes, the sober party scene may have started in New York but quickly spread. Party people across the world have created copycat club events and London, Zurich and Amsterdam all play host to the fashionable Morning Gloryville, a sober rave that kicks off at 6:30 in the morning. Partly aimed at those people who prefer dancing to jogging as a method of keeping fit, attendees turn up to party sober and dance like their lives depend on it—all before work.
“My first experience with Morning Gloryville was bizarre but amazing,” says 30 year old Dan, who attends the NYC rave once a week. “I’d recently cut down on drinking and wanted to improve my mood. When I drank most evenings, my morning routine was rushed, frantic and stressful. Since I’ve started going to Morning Gloryville, my whole attitude before noon is totally different. It’s pretty nice knowing that by 8:30 a.m. I’ve exercised, socialized and had an awesome time. Last year, I’d have still been sleeping.”
The Joys of Sobriety
Aside from people like Dan and Sara who want to cut back on their alcohol intake while not negotiating on fun, conscious clubbing has also been making ripples in the world of addiction recovery. The idea of using exercise as a constructive replacement for drug or alcohol cravings is not new; exercise releases the neurotransmitter dopamine into the brain in the same way as cocaine and heroin.
The rise of the sober party scene should further support the benefits of exercising for recovery. Exercise has long been used within rehabilitation to provide addicts with a mental, physical and emotional outlet. Sober dance events with a strong focus on fun and socializing can be even more advantageous for young people in recovery, as Sober College rehab center founder Robert Pfeifer states:
“The idea that former addicts don’t want to party or can never do so again is a misconception. Many young adults in early recovery from addiction don’t want to give up important aspects of their social lives or have to entirely avoid dance parties or the club scene, but they don’t want to put themselves at risk of relapse either. If a young person can enjoy activities like clubbing and dancing but in a safe, sober environment, then that can only be a good thing. And of course, aside from that aspect, dancing is a physical activity which improves overall health and fitness and promotes a positive outlook, so these events can enhance recovery in many forms.”
A basic desire to improve health is clearly a driving force behind the huge rise in popularity of sober partying and the attraction of clean clubbing for anyone struggling with substance abuse issues mean this movement has a two-pronged appeal and will surely only continue to spread. But as new convert Sara attests, simple inquisitiveness is also an influential factor.
“Not everyone at these events is in recovery from addiction or a health nut, by any means,” says Sara. “Most people come of out curiosity, just to see what it’s like and then enjoy it so much they want to make it a regular thing. I do still drink but knowing that I can have the same amount of fun sober has meant I drink far less than I ever did, which can only be a good thing. It’s nice to not feel as though you need to drink to dance or let yourself go—I think that’s my key takeaway, anyway—that’s the real joy of sobriety!”
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The Washington Redskins will retire their controversial name and logo, the National Football League (NFL) team announced Monday.
By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
- New England Fishing Communities Being Destroyed by 'Climate ... ›
- Shrimp Fishing Banned in Gulf of Maine Due to Ocean Warming ... ›
- Atlantic Salmon Is All But Extinct as a Genetically Eroded Version of ... ›
A heat wave that set in over the South and Southwest left much of the U.S. blanketed in record-breaking triple digit temperatures over the weekend. The widespread and intense heat wave will last for weeks, making the magnitude and duration of its heat impressive, according to The Washington Post.
- Hot Weather and COVID-19: Added Threats of Reopening States in ... ›
- 50 Million Americans Are Currently Living Under Some Type of Heat ... ›
- Second Major Heat Wave This Summer Smashes Records Across ... ›
By Joni Sweet
If you get a call from a number you don't recognize, don't hit decline — it might be a contact tracer calling to let you know that someone you've been near has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Interviews With Contact Tracers<p>Contact tracing is a public health strategy that involves identifying everyone who may have been in contact with a person who has the coronavirus. Contact tracers collect information and provide guidance to help contain the transmission of disease.</p><p>It's been used during outbreaks of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), Ebola, measles, and now the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.</p><p>It starts when the local department of health gets a report of a confirmed case of the coronavirus in its community and gives that person a call. The contact tracer usually provides information on how to isolate and when to get treatment, then tries to figure out who else the person may have exposed.</p><p>"We ask who they've been in contact with in the 48 hours prior to symptom onset, or 2 days before the date of their positive test if they don't have symptoms," said <a href="https://case.edu/medicine/healthintegration/people/heidi-gullett" target="_blank">Dr. Heidi Gullett</a>, associate director of the Center for Community Health Integration at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and medical director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health in Ohio.</p>
“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
- Anti-Racism Protests Are Not Driving Coronavirus Spikes, Data ... ›
- Cell Phone Tracking Analysis Shows Where Florida Springbreakers ... ›
NASA scientists say that warmer than average surface sea temperatures in the North Atlantic raise the concern for a more active hurricane season, as well as for wildfires in the Amazon thousands of miles away, according to Newsweek.
By Andrea Germanos
Oxfam International warned Thursday that up to 12,000 people could die each day by the end of the year as a result of hunger linked to the coronavirus pandemic—a daily death toll surpassing the daily mortality rate from Covid-19 itself.
- These 6 Men Have as Much Wealth as Half the World's Population ... ›
- Climate Change Forces 20 Million People to Flee Each Year, Oxfam ... ›
By Jun N. Aguirre
An oil spill on July 3 threatens a mangrove forest on the Philippine island of Guimaras, an area only just recovering from the country's largest spill in 2006.
- 15,000 Gallon Oil Spill Threatens River and Drinking Water in Native ... ›
- Mysterious Oil Spill on Massachusetts' Charles River Spurs Major ... ›
- Disastrous Russian Oil Spill Reaches Pristine Arctic Lake - EcoWatch ›