|Julia Robinson for NPR|
At 8 p.m. on a Saturday night, people are starting to pack into a popular bar called Harvard & Stone in an East Los Angeles neighborhood. The chatter gets louder as the booze begins to flow.
In the far corner, about a dozen women in a group are clearly enjoying themselves too, but they are not drinking alcohol. They're sipping handcrafted mocktails, with names like Baby's First Bourbon and Honey Dew Collins, featuring nonalcoholic distilled spirits.
They're part of a sober social club, made up mostly of women in their 30s who want to have fun and make friends without alcohol.
The members of this club work out, have demanding jobs and simply don't want to feel foggy or hungover anymore. Without alcohol, they say, they just feel better.
"Oh my gosh. Well, one thing that was noticeable to pretty much everybody was my overall health and, like, my skin, my eyes. ... I lost weight," says Stephanie Forte, who works in sales in the beauty industry.
Another social club member, Kathy Kuzniar, says she used to obsess over whether there was enough wine in the house. She says she feels calmer since she became sober, and she has lost 30 pounds.
"I'm creative again," Kuzniar says. "And I know I wouldn't be doing those things if I was still drinking."
Read more: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/06/23/732876026/breaking-the-booze-habit-even-briefly-has-its-benefits