Getting to know the Sober Girl Society. The statistics seem to be on a constant upward trend: young Millennials are turning away from alcohol in vast numbers. To an older generation, it sounds almost impossible. How can you not drink in your twenties? Isn’t that what your twenties are for?
These ingrained ways of thinking, of course, are what fascinate us here on The Real Podcast. So this week, for our 12th episode, we sent Shani Higgs, one of the Real Kombucha team who recently gave up drinking for three months (you may have read her Sober Diaries on this blog), to meet Millie Gooch.
Millie is a writer and speaker, and the founder of Sober Girl Society (website here), an ever-growing collective of young women who are fed up with living a hangxiety-fuelled life, their weekends drowned out by beer fear, under constant pressure to succumb to Wine O’Clock. And when we say “an ever-growing collective”, we mean it. The Sober Girl Society currently boasts close to 60,000 Instagram followers.
According to Millie, this new tribe is made up of young women, “People like me – busy lives, busy jobs, often working in media – who still wanted a social life but wanted to take alcohol out of the equation”. As our readers will know, this description is one that Shani has come to identify with wholeheartedly. So it made sense to give her the mic and get her talking.
In the following podcast you’ll hear Millie and Shani discuss everything from the emergence of the Sober Girl Society, how the growing Sober Curious Movement relates to Cancel Culture and Callout Culture, how to navigate the pitfalls of sober dating, and what’s involved in “coming out” as a non-drinker. They also discuss something called the “Pink Cloud” and “the Pink Cloud Dispersal Phase”, which is a level of non-drinking science we’ve so far not discovered!
So, chatting to Millie Gooch about the rise of the Sober Girl Society, over a glass of the finest non-alcoholic Prosecco alternative, here’s Shani Higgs.
Sober Girl Society interview quotes
Here are a few of Millie’s bon mots to get you thinking.
Be prepared for overflowing emotions when you quit alcohol, says Millie. “It’s like you’ve been filling up and someone tips you out. Alcohol is like a stopper. It’s like a plug on a bath. When you take that out, it all comes flooding.”
“We have such a strange relationship with alcohol,” she says. “We don’t say, ‘Oooh, go on! Have that gluten! Do it!’ It’s the only drug you have to justify not taking.”
“Nobody asks why you don’t smoke because it’s obvious! So why alcohol? It’s just the strangest thing.”
“If you break up with your boyfriend, you’re like ‘Don’t worry – I’ll be round with the wine and the ice cream.’ It’s, ‘I’ll bring the bottle of depressant. That will make you feel better.’ How’s is no-one waking up that this is what we’re doing? Just because it looks sparkly and pretty and there’s a jumper that says ‘Prosecco ho-ho-ho’… No! It’s a depressant in a bottle and we’re giving it to make someone feel happier!”
On sober dating, she explains: “Not drinking is the best dickhead detector. If someone cannot see not-drinking as a good thing, then they’re not for you. What next? ‘Why are you going to the gym?!'”
Also mentioned in this Sober Girl Society interview
The Sober Millennials
Laura Willoughy, Club Soda Guide
The Boy Who Drank Too Much
The Kindness Method – Sharoo Izadi