Did you know that partaking in substances could be wreaking havoc on your mental health?  If you are using alcohol to self-medicate you may experience side effects that will worsen your feelings especially if you become dependent on it to cope with life’s ups and downs.

Those side effects include:

If you are curious about sober living this Sober October, the founder of Raising the Bar is all too familiar with this feeling. After experiencing too much reliance on alcohol as a stress reliever Abbie Romanul founded Raising the Bar, a zero-proof cocktail subscription.

Recess chatted with Abbie to discuss the benefits of ditching the cocktails for your mental health.

Recess: Why do you think sober October is a good idea to participate in? Is this ideal for those that are sober, curious?

Abbie: I think Sober October is a good idea for anyone who wants to check in with themselves and reevaluate their relationships with alcohol! Sober October is an opportunity to get intentional and mindful of why and how we consume alcohol and can be a starting point for considering any long-term changes one might wish to take.

When you need a break or need to reset, grabbing a glass of wine or favorite cocktail may be one of the first things you consider. Alcohol tends to make symptoms of mental health conditions worse, like depression and anxiety.

Recess: How does alcohol affect our mental health?

Abbie: The past year and a half has been especially challenging for everyone, and heavy alcohol use has increased during this time as many seek ways to cope with increased levels and stress and anxiety. Alcohol use can impact our ability to concentrate and get quality sleep. It can also exacerbate depression and anxiety (which is ironically why many people drink – to cope with these issues).

In actuality, your mood can improve when you start reducing your alcohol intake and turn to other forms of coping skills.

Recess: What are some tips for starting the process of swapping out alcohol for zero-proof alcohol?

Abbie: There are so many incredible alternatives to alcohol in the zero-proof space today. From wines, beers, and premixed mocktails to zero-proof spirits that can be subbed 1:1 in a traditional cocktail recipe, there is simply no shortage of delicious and sophisticated options to please any palate. At Raising the Bar, we curate all the ingredients you need to make seasonal zero-proof cocktails at home, which is a fun option if you’re missing that mixology element!

If you are curious about navigating an alcohol-free lifestyle try incorporating the recipe below for your next social gathering.

Harvest Moon Recipe


In a shaker with ice cubes, combine the first four ingredients and give a gentle stir to combine. Strain into a rocks glass with an ice sphere and garnish with dried fig slices. Cheers!

*Bitters do contain alcohol, but used in a drink are in such small quantities that the alcohol content is negligible. You may omit if you prefer not to use bitters.