For people recovering from alcohol addiction or those simply trying to improve their health, being around others that drink can trigger a real challenge to their sobriety. This leaves many sober individuals avoiding licensed bars altogether, which can understandably cause feelings of isolation, or even boredom. There’s no reason why teetotal people can’t still enjoy the social aspect of their local pubs though. That’s why “sober bars” are opening across the U.S., serving non-alcoholic beverages only.
One of those bars is in Cherokee Recovery Village in Bastrop, Texas, where recovering alcoholic Ember Zenchyshyn regularly visits. “I can't do this alone,” she says, “I need to have the people walking through this with me and kind of be a part of something.” Zenchyshyn has been sober for 3 years, but feels like she often misses out on good times with friends. She reveals, “I didn't want to give up the fun lifestyle. I didn't want just to go home and go to sleep at 10 and not do things.”
Former addict and owner of the Cherokee Recovery Village says believes the sober pub will help support those on a recovery program by providing a safe place to socialize without judgement. The establishment looks just like a normal dive bar, with dim lighting, bar stools, and a pool table—except only non-alcoholic drinks are served. “You can come in and you can drink. We only have healthy beverages,” he says. “It will allow you to eventually go into establishments where there’s drinking and partying and craziness and it won’t affect you as strongly as it did.”
For Zenchyshyn, the sober bar reminds her that she can still have fun without alcohol. She says, “It’s life, you just don’t want to get into recovery to stop living life, you’re getting into recovery to enjoy life.” But Cherokee Recovery Village isn’t just for those in recovery. The bar also welcomes those who are curious about getting sober. French says, “It has really wakened people up on the health benefits of getting sober even if it’s just for a short period of time.”
This Cherokee Recovery Village bar in Texas is providing a place for sober people to socialize without the temptation of alcohol.