Last Updated on October 2, 2023
With the start of Soberish October, Ian Andersen, co-founder of Sunnyside, was invited to speak on the podcast Untangle. Ian dives into the moderation and mindful approach, explaining how a Soberish rather than Sober October can benefit those who try it. Learn all about where this mindful approach came from and the three biggest science-backed ways Sunnyside helps.
Untangle: Mindfulness for Brain Health
The Untangle podcast interviews experts and thought-leaders around mindfulness, brain health, leadership, and life. The goal is to share stories that not only inspire, but also offer more awareness, clarity, and purpose to life.
Muse and Sunnyside: Working Together for Better Sleep, Calm, and Focus
You may have already heard about Muse, the smart headband and personal meditation coach in one. It tracks your brain activity to detect when your mind wanders away during meditation, giving you gentle audio cues to help you refocus on the present.
At night, it can guide you into a deep, restful sleep with soundscapes, guided meditations, and bedtime stories. It’s smart-fade technology sets it apart, as it cues your brain to sleep and helps you fall back asleep if you wake up during the night.
Muse and Sunnyside joined to support people who want to develop a more balanced approach to life. Together, we’re offering a free “What Type of Drinker Are You” e-book with brain health advice and a 20% discount on the Muse 2 or S Headband.
As Soberish October begins, Sunnyside wants to emphasize that you don’t need to have an “all-or-nothing” approach. Instead, the Soberish challenge can just be a way to begin a new relationship with alcohol and your health.
Listen to the podcast here and check out the highlights below.
What Inspired the Moderation Approach?
Growing up with two very different drinking behaviors in his parents, Ian personally experienced varying extremes. There was no moderation approach or tools available to his parents, and they each took very different paths.
His father, a private drinker, realized the negative impact his drinking had on the family and cut cold turkey. Unfortunately, his mother’s addiction grew stronger with time and she ultimately passed from liver failure from alcohol.
As an adult, he realized they each had their own type of “all-or-nothing” approach, and he wondered what the outcomes could have been for them had there been another way. As he noticed his own drinking habits were having negative impacts on his health and work performance, he decided to cut back for three months and track the changes in his weight, diet, and sleep quality. The act of tracking helped him maintain a healthier relationship with alcohol, and he began to dive into the science and find out if a moderation approach could work.
What Makes Sunnyside Different
Co-founder Nick Allen and his wife were on vacation when they realized they were drinking a bit more than they wanted. They looked up apps to track their drinks but surprisingly, none existed. It was always an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach.
They realized there was a huge stigma with cutting back and few tools to help. Either you looked like an alcoholic or you were a healthy drinker — there was no in-between. This spurred Sunnyside’s mission to de-stigmatize alcohol health.
Sunnyside wants to encourage education on how alcohol impacts you and introduce you to the lowest barrier entryway to slowly cut back. With cognitive behavioral therapy techniques and connection for support, we want you to feel empowered about how alcohol fits into your life.
What Are the 3 Science-Backed Tips Sunnyside Uses?
Part of what sets Sunnyside apart is our commitment to using mindfulness and science behind habit change techniques. These are some of the best ways science shows we can change our habits more easily:
- Pre-committing: Setting an intention creates a more solid goal in our mind and helps us choose the larger delayed reward.
- Planning: “A goal without a plan is just a dream.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. In order to get something done, we need to plan for it. The more detailed we can get, the better.
- Tracking: Observing your habits lets you see exactly how you’re performing. You can track in real-time or the day after, but this lets you recognize, reflect, and reassess.
Besides planning and tracking, Sunnyside focuses on self-compassion and forgiveness. Science shows just how important reducing self-criticism is to move forward mindfully and mediate symptoms of depression and addiction.
What Are the Health Benefits of Going Soberish?
Sunnyside conducted an internal survey in May 2023, asking at least 3-month-long members about their results. This is what we found:
- 96% drank less
- 75% better mental health
- 90% binge drink less
- 50% or fewer weekly drinks than before using Sunnyside
- 81% better management of cravings
- 66% less guilt and shame
With Sunnyside, you can set your goals, track your progress, notice your triggers, and text with human coaches if you want. There’s also a very supportive Facebook group where you can go for support and connection.
The Importance of Connection
“The opposite of addiction isn’t sobriety; it’s connection.” – Johann Hari
This quote was popularized in Johann’s TED talk, emphasizing the role of community and meaningful human connections when working through addiction. Sunnyside aims to give you that sense of support with personal coaches and a group of people going through the exact same thing as you.
As Ian said, “Mindful drinking doesn’t have to be scary, we make it as simple as possible. So if you’re thinking about cutting back just the tiniest bit, take the plunge. We’re a very friendly group of people and we’re here for support.”
Want to join the mindful drinking movement?
Some people think that cutting back on drinking is all about having less. But at Sunnyside, we’re all about having more. More rested mornings, more days when you’re feeling your absolute best, more energy and positivity. We’re not here to say “don’t go out” or “never drink”. We’re here to help you to enjoy your life AND wake up ready to shine your brightest.