This question has been the most consistent of all questions that come through our community, "Can I be sober and still create?"
Working through the 'Ad'versity
It's human nature to want to see proof to spark a belief inside of ourselves that something is to be accurate or sometimes the opposite. Alcohol consumption is promoted as a regular part of our society. Image and media are such powerful tools that it's hard to believe that only 26 years ago, the ban on TV/Radio liquor ads was lifted after being in place for almost 50 years.
Some shocking numbers to take in is that it's projected that Big Alcohol will spend 7.7 billion dollars in advertising in 2023. Their largest target audience is young men (18 to 49) and women (76% of women 18 to 49 report they drink).
How often does Alcohol show up in the creative fields? The answer is a lot.
Music - Integrating alcohol brands and music is a significant playing field. A big lift started showing results in 2016, found in music branding with the artist and labels. A prior public display of this type of overlap is when Sean "Diddy" Combs became a paid spokesperson for Ciroc vodka with a $100 million marketing deal and later became a partner. Because of his influence, Ciroc quickly became many rappers' vodka of choice and a staple in hip-hop culture. Past studies found that 22.4% of Billboard Hot 100 mentioned Alcohol in their lyrics, with another study of 720 songs showing that 23.2% did the same.
Movies - A study performed in 1996 and 2017
found a considerable increase in the depiction of alcohol brands in the top 100 films of the year. 1996 study found 140 branded Alcohol represented, and 20 years later, it increased to 282, a 96% increase. The study included PG and G films and featured branded Alcohol.
TV - The top 5 genres for Alcohol on TV are Sports, Comedy, Animation, Reality, and Drama. University of Auckland's study found that of all food and beverage portrayals in prime-time TV programs, Alcohol was the most frequent item at 30%, which is often led through product placement – a marketing strategy in which liquor companies pay TV shows to include their products for exposure.
The numbers don't match up.
When you Google "How many artists are going sober?", you will find articles like 15 Musicians Who Got Clean & Sober, Going Sober: How Seven Artists Transformed Their Lives or 55 Celebrities Who Don't Drink Alcohol. It seems like a small amount that made a change away from what is confirmed as an addictive substance. In its three-year existence on Instagram, The Creative Sober has had hundreds of artists raising awareness by sharing that they are creating after choosing to be sober, and with an overwhelming common thread that it has been the best decision in their life.
Community creates connection.
Community is why we are here. You found us, and we found you, in turn, creating a safe space for us where we can tackle these hurdles, find another that may get you, or discover some peace and comfort that you made the right choice to begin your pa
th on the sobriety spectrum with the hope and promise that others want to meet you there. We are not meant to travel this journey alone. The more who know that there is a different, healthier way of life, maybe the numbers will start to match up one day.