TikTok influencers are trying to convince you that moderate drinking is the latest “trend.”
Users on the platform even coined a term for the latest drinking trend — “damp lifestyle,” which is simply drinking in moderation.
Instead of completely quitting drinking, the so-called damp lifestyle promotes cutting back on alcohol consumption and choosing whether or not you want to have a drink.
If you already only have a few drinks a week or sip on a drink on special occasions, you’re already living a damp lifestyle, licensed psychotherapist Dr. Teralyn Sell told Bustle.
TikToker @hana.elson — who has 33,500 followers and 2 million likes — said that the damp lifestyle is “internalizing the fact that drinking culture and your relationship with alcohol does not have to be black or white, all or nothing.”
She explained that for her, a damp lifestyle started off by meaning no hard alcohol and no shots, but she’s “re-introduced hard alcohol only in a fun-drink format.”
“I’m not saying I’m sober, so please keep that in mind,” she clarified.
Hana will often start her night with a mocktail, or will drink glasses of water in between her alcoholic beverages.
“I needed for me a way to understand that I didn’t have to either go to a bar and black out or just stay home,” she said.
She says there’s a difference between “drinking to enjoy vs drinking to get drunk” and goes into her night with an “action plan” to “drink with the mindset of the next day” and prevent a bad hungover.
“It’s literally like teaching yourself exactly what you can handle,” she explained.
Another TikToker @therealsamelle — who has 13,100 followers and 1.3 million likes — said she participates in a “damp lifestyle” because she doesn’t like drinking.
“I used to do it because everyone else was doing it, and I don’t think that’s a good reason for me to be doing something,” she said, explaining that she only drinks now on special occasions.
In another TikTok, Hana wrote: “We talk about being sober, we talk about being drunk, but how do we successfully follow a ‘damp’ lifestyle… Is it just me or did everyone wake up recently and completely reassess their relationship with alcohol,,, where they still want to go out and be social but they don’t want to wake up with 2 day depression benders…”
People took to the comments to express what they felt was obvious: that this was just drinking in moderation.
“I think it’s just called a healthy relationship with alcohol guys,” someone commented with laughing emojis.
“I think that’s called just getting older,” a user quipped.
“I tried going out with ‘moderation’ mindset and woke up in a bush,” a user shared.
“I feel like it’s called self control,” another stated.
“This is called alcoholism. Normal people can drink without binge drinking,” one person commented.
“I think it’s a normal stance to just want to have one drink in social situations. I don’t get the new label/lifestyle being marketed,” someone said.
“I think it’s called moderation?” a user commented.
Hana responded to the moderation comment in a separate video to address the issue with having “this mindset.”
“If you truly want to reassess your relationship with alcohol and this is something that’s a priority for you, this mindset isn’t going to be enough,” she said, adding that you need “actionable steps” for the lifestyle to work.
“For lots of people ‘moderation’ isn’t a thing. It’s all or nothing,” a user responded.
Others pointed out that one of the issues with the damp lifestyle is that it doesn’t work for people actually trying to not drink.
“Damp lifestyle…aka…moderation. Which doesn’t work for alcoholics,” a user pointed out.
“Problem is: drinking alcohol and determining a ‘fun alcohol format.’ You can make any excuse to drink hard alcohol (or take shots),” another said.
“You don’t really get to teach yourself what you can handle — that might not sit well with attacks,” someone commented.
“If you’re trying to control your drinking like this,” someone suggested, “maybe abstinence would be a better recommendation.”