The term ‘influencer’ has been around for several years now, with young social media enthusiasts making a career for themselves by advertising certain products or gaining popularity for their interesting or amusing posts. However, never has the job of influencing been as important as it is these days, with some social media stars helping to ditch bad lifestyle habits, including drinking too much alcohol.
Writing in The Wired, Virginia Heffernan stated: “The 21st century has been a boon to young abstainers who reject the word alcoholic, and to anyone who wants to quit drinking without becoming a sad sack or a prig.”
While it used to be uncool to be sober among teenagers, students and young professionals, the tables have now turned, and in fact, waking up with a hangover, not remembering the night before and spending the day with regret has now distinctly lost its appeal.
One particular influencer Ms Heffernan mentioned is Holly Whitaker, who wrote the bestseller Quit Like A Woman in 2019, six years after she decided to ditch alcohol for good.
Since then, Whitaker, who has 144,000 Instagram followers, established an online alcohol-counselling group, now known as Tempest. This offers paid services, such as coaching and communities, to help people “change [their] relationship with alcohol”.
While Whitaker is among the most well-known, and successful, of sober influencers, she is certainly not alone.
Kelly Uhcima, with 133,000 Instagram followers, has made a name for herself by sharing her experiences of body confidence, self-love, recovery, and sobriety. She helps her social media fans through her own honesty, particularly through her Therapy Thursday podcast that discusses some of her own mental health struggles.
Another worth following is Sober Dave, who quit booze in 2019 and has documented his journey on Instagram ever since. He now has more than 53,000 followers, has become a drinking coach, has his own Soberdave app, and is an ambassador for Alcohol Change UK.
Millennials are increasingly open to changing their experience with booze, with young people a lot more aware of healthier lifestyles and are keen on eating well, exercising, and looking after themselves than previous generations. This is shown with Mille Gooch, who founded the Sober Girl Society in 2018.
The community was created to “show the world that you can still live a fun and fulfilled life after you break up with booze”.
She launched Sober Girl Society after realising years of heavy drinking was taking a toll on her mental health, and in the process has not just helped herself, but thousands of others too.
The blogger, who recently celebrated four years sober, has written for some of the country’s biggest publications, and is an Alcohol Change UK ambassador. She also has over 178,000 Instagram followers, hosts sober events, and is a published author, having released the Sober Girl Society Handbook in 2021 with tips on how to quit alcohol for good.
To help kick your habit to the kerb, swap your favourite boozy tipple with alcohol-free beer instead.