Meeting up for a slice of the healthy, sober side of life
Key in health and wellbeing “meetups” into your search engine and you’ll be offered an array of possible social events to attend in the Dublin area alone.
Over the course of seven days, you could pop along to a laughter yoga or mindfulness meditation session, join a raw living food group, sample energy healing or go to a talk/seminar on some aspect of holistic health.
The US-based social networking site asks those organising meet-ups to pledge to “create a real face-to-face community”. The site itself started as a reaction to all the online activity of social networking sites and picture sharing. And since it started in New York city, it has spawned more than 100,000 meet-up groups worldwide.
These include everything from hiking groups to techie groups to parenting meet-ups. In Ireland, the spirituality/holistic health/personal growth sector has embraced the concept of meet-ups with vigour and enthusiasm.
Meeting up to socialise
David Maher is an example of someone who set up a meet-up group as a means to socialising with like-minded people.
“I gave up alcohol in August 2010 and for the first six or seven months I found it a challenge going to the pub with my friends and not drinking, so a year later, I founded A Sober Slice of Dublin.”
The nature of meet-up sites is that they are automatically connected in to other similarly themed meet-up groups so Maher’s site immediately attracted members who were already on the wellness bandwagon.
“I’ve had people come along to events who have had issues with drink and drugs, others who are disillusioned with the drink scene in Dublin and then others who do drink but are looking for an alternative way of socialising,” he explains.
“There’s such a high tolerance of alcohol in this country and an undercurrent of depression linked to excessive consumption of alcohol among young people that we’re not addressing.
“I think people are looking for something different – the search for real health and wellbeing on a day-to-day basis,” he says.
A slice of sobriety
So, the social events calendar of A Sober Slice of Dublin will include opportunities to join in a session of African tribal drumming in the multicultural Lantern Centre in Synge St, or going along to one of the Funky Seomra non-alcoholic discos or meeting up to go to the cinema.
Maher also organises seminars on strategies and approaches to mental and physical health.
“A lot of the people who come are single and they want to get hooked up with someone but find it impossible with the drink scene,” explains Maher. A Sober Slice of Dublin has about 1,200 members.