“Dry January,” when some people take a month-long break from alcohol consumption, perhaps prompted by holiday excess, is a long-established tradition. But so-called sober socializing — for people who are looking to socialize anytime without alcohol as part of the mix — is a growing trend, including in New Jersey.  This year alone, several groups have sprung up to organize sober social events in places packed with bars. Event organizers aim to broaden the social scene for those navigating what can be the isolating experience of sobriety.  

But the people who come to socialize at these sober parties and picnics are not all in recovery for alcohol use. Some call themselves “sober-curious” and they are among the growing group of people seeking alternatives not centered around alcohol.  “This whole idea has changed and evolved as the months have gone on,” said Kim Obie, founder of Asbury Park Sober Socials. Obie and a team of volunteers rented a space at an art studio in Asbury Park to host a party for Dry January this year. In the months since, the group has hosted several other alcohol-free socials with plans for more events this year.  To read the full story.