Socializing and meeting up with friends at a bar is a familiar ritual for millions of Americans. Except that for anyone in recovery, such an atmosphere can be more stressful and pressure-filled than fun and enjoyable.

It can also be a risk not worth taking if it means the possibility of relapse to harmful behavior. But you don’t have to be in recovery to prefer not to submerge yourself in a boozy environment. Wanting to avoid a hangover and possibly a DUI, unwelcome mood changes, physical ailments and everything else that comes with excessive alcohol use is a no-brainer.

That’s why alcohol-free venues, also known as sober bars, are rising in popularity in the U.S. And they’re not just for those in recovery, these spaces are for anyone seeking a healthy alternative that also happens to come with fun entertainment and plenty of conviviality.

Yes, it’s possible to enjoy a party scene with all the trappings of a night out, just without the alcohol! Think virgin cocktails, free-trade coffees, fruit shakes and tea lattes and you get the picture.

Cherokee Recovery Village in Texas is one such place. It’s run by Paul French, a recovering addict, and a licensed chemical dependency counselor.

French and many others like him think that sober bars can be key supports for individuals in recovery as the venues provide a supportive yet festive atmosphere where the drinks are healthy and the partying is safe and sane.

So-called sober bars also are a smart choice for people in 12-Step programs who want to catch up in places outside of a meeting.

“People need connection once they start a recovery program,” French said.

Sober bars can also be a stepping stone for those who anticipate the possibility of being in a drinking establishment at some point down the road. In this case, the sober bar serves as a neutral practice ground where the pattern of ordering non-alcoholic drinks is the new normal.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, now is the time to reach out for help. At Arbor Behavioral Healthcare, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals who understand addiction in all its forms. We use an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, and at The Arbor, you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan. We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit so you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us today at 844-413-2690.